PREPARATIONS for the 2022 national and local elections, a particularly challenging one, are under way. Despite news of the availability of vaccines and government plans to inoculate millions of citizens, the Covid-19 pandemic may continue to linger until election day, May 9, 2022 and beyond. The preparations must include Covid-proofing the elections. It’s a good thing that there have been elections held in other countries over the last 10 months of the pandemic which the Commission on Elections (Comelec) can learn.

South Korea was the first country to hold its national elections in April 2020 in the midst of the pandemic and achieved the highest voter turnout in almost three decades. Strict health protocols, physical distancing and extensive contact tracing were implemented before, during and after election day. Election workers and volunteers were supplied with face masks, face shields, gloves and hand sanitizers. Clear rules and regulations that gave guidance as voters entered their assigned polling places were provided. Even voters who were quarantined and recuperating in hospitals were able to participate in the voting through special voting arrangements (SVA).

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