Amidst COVID-19, the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) has mentioned that Polling Items shall be redesigned by the Fee to make sure substantial compliance with the COVID-19 protocols established by well being authorities.
INEC famous that, amongst different issues, the redesign would emphasise social distancing, normal hygienic conduct and enforcement of COVID-19 prevention protocols.
The fee disclosed this in a ‘Coverage on Conducting Elections within the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic’ signed by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, launched on Monday.
The INEC chairman famous that on election day, using face masks shall be obligatory at Polling Items (PUs) and all election areas, stating that any voter and not using a face masks shall be turned away from the Polling Unit.
“Nonetheless, the Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) II in checking the Register of Voters could request elimination of masks to forestall voter impersonation.
“There shall be a two-tier queuing system on the Polling Unit – one exterior and the opposite within the voting space. Voters will probably be introduced into the voting space periodically to forestall overcrowding.
“Tags and twines could also be used to make sure crowd management and upkeep of social distance.
“With a purpose to accommodate further actions in establishing the PU as a consequence of COVID-19, polls shall now start at 8.30 am and shut at 2.30 pm.
“Anyone on the outer queue by 2.30 pm shall be allowed to vote, in step with
the Fee’s laws.
“Previous to the graduation of polls, the Presiding Officer or Assistant Presiding Officer (VP) shall be sure that the contents of the Voter Code of Conduct (VCC) are learn out loudly to voters and that the VCC Poster is pasted on the polling unit,” Yakubu mentioned.
He said that there must be periodic disinfection of chairs, tables and work areas, in addition to satisfactory air flow on the Polling Items.
“The Sensible Card Readers (SCR) shall be cleaned with the prescribed disinfectant after every voter’s fingerprint is learn.
“Private Protecting Tools (PPE) and different security supplies shall be supplied for polling workers,” he mentioned.
Yakubu added that on the shut of polls, polling unit workers ought to be sure that supplies had been correctly disinfected, rigorously packaged and that used PPE had been hygienically packaged or disposed of.
He defined that for functions of collation of outcomes after election the Fee would cluster Registration Space (RA) collation centres the place possible, with a view to scale back publicity of individuals to the danger of COVID-19, pace up collation and scale back prices.
“With a purpose to stop overcrowding throughout collation, just one polling agent of a celebration on the poll (or the candidate in individual) for the election(s) shall be allowed into the collation corridor,” he mentioned.
On post-election actions, Yakubu said that for reverse logistics, election workers should be sure that used, however reusable PPEs, had been rigorously packaged and despatched to designated assortment factors.
“All post-election debriefings shall ideally be accomplished electronically. The place face-to-face debriefings happen, the protocols for COVID-19 prevention shall be adopted,” he mentioned.
For pre-election actions, Yakubu said that INEC ought to instantly embark on assessment of laws, pointers and manuals for elections within the gentle of modifications to the electoral course of which might be imminent as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Develop a Voter Code of Conduct (VCC) doc detailing how voters are anticipated to behave and conduct themselves on the polling items within the gentle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Evaluate all Elections Data Kits to incorporate COVID-19 data.
“Broaden the Inter-Company Consultative Committee on Election Safety (ICCES) in any respect ranges to incorporate NCDC (or different requisite well being our bodies) and Nationwide Orientation Company (NOA) on a short lived foundation,” he mentioned.
The INEC chairman mandated INEC state workplaces to work with native well being authorities to do a well being evaluation of upcoming elections instantly.
“Conduct instant dialogue with state governments the place elections are to carry regarding lockdowns, curfews, and many others, and the way they could have an effect on elections.
“Be certain that Pre-Election Preparation (PEP) actions shall be performed on-line ideally.
“The place face-to-face actions turn out to be essential, the protocols for COVID-19 prevention must be adopted.
“Pilot modifications to the electoral course of within the gentle of the COVID-19 pandemic in a by-election previous to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections with a view to study classes the place essential,” he mentioned.
Yakubu defined that INEC has additionally made provision for dealing with and supply of election supplies.
One of many provisions, in line with him, was to cut back the variety of contacts throughout distribution.
He mentioned when Non-sensitive Supplies had been procured, they’d be delivered immediately by distributors to States or bought by States requiring the supplies and packaged in line with the amount required by Registration Space.
“It will scale back the extent and variety of contacts throughout distribution,” he mentioned.
He mentioned that manufacturing of Delicate Supplies shall start early to offer satisfactory time for correct packaging and supply.
Yakubu added that to cut back the danger of transmission of COVID-19, the fee ought to scale back to a minimal interstate motion of workers, together with advert hoc workers, for low season and by-elections.
“The rule shall be that solely shortfalls requested by the states are stuffed from exterior the state. As a lot as doable, all election workers will probably be sourced in-state,” the INEC chairman mentioned.
He added that within the institution of voting factors, with a view to scale back the variety of factors in a Polling Unit to be monitored and managed for COVID-19 compliance, the brink for Voting Factors shall be elevated from 500/750 to 1,000/1,250. (NAN)