At the rate of Covid-19 infections in Belize come election day the polls may be short of an estimated 800 votes. That is because it is being averaged as the number of persons who would be in quarantine at election time. Love News spoke with Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai who says a decision is yet to be made on whether those in quarantine would be allowed to vote. The suggestion of using proxy votes has been thrown out but according to Faber, such a move would be begging for problems.
Patrick Faber, Leader Elect, United Democratic Party: “I think that leads to a lot of mischief. As it is now there is some level of mistrust in the proxy system I believe. I think the reason why it’s still allowed is because it’s essential and by and large it’s not a significant portion of the voting population, it’s not even voluntary it’s you know pretty much if you’re working and you’re not able to be present that is how you get that opportunity so it’s not by choice. So I don’t see that as something that is possible but again I don’t want to seem as if there is some definitive position yet because I’m not sure that there is.”
Love News spoke with the Director of Health Services Dr Marvin Manzanero on his medical opinion on the voting process for those in quarantine. The good doctor had no objections to the idea of having those in quarantine given a chance to vote on November 11.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “I believe it can be accommodated just like you have any other normal process provided you make the necessary provisions. I think the recommendations we have made to Elections and Boundaries the two or three times we have spoken have followed for example what has happened in other Caribbean countries but also follow broad general recommendations for taking care of the officials who would conduct the elections and for ensuring that spread is not going to be happening after an election. I mean if we call follow the due process which is you going, you stand in line, you minimize- again if you’re not talking to anybody wearing your mask, keeping your physical distancing you should be able to have this properly done. So I’m going to go in and vote all I need to take is my voter’s ID go in, stand in line, vote and come back out and go back home. I don’t know that we will have time to have congregations of people in and around polling station I think that’s a game changer. We have made that recommendation in terms of how that would work and I think it can be done. Unless you are visibly symptomatic or visibly ill you know I don’t know that you should the be going to vote where there’s gonna be other persons. What provisions can be made? I guess the Elections and Boundaries will have to look at it but that would be the recommendation .We are only able to make recommendations from the health standpoint guided by science.”
Our newsroom awaits an official decision from the Elections and Boundaries Department.