On Monday, 15 August, the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) approved recommendations for the prevention of Covid-19 infection in the polling stations of the 14th Saeima election, which set out the epidemiological precautions to be taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 infection.
During the preparation of the 14th Saeima elections, the recommendations have been updated following consultations with the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). It should be noted that the implementation of specific precautions may vary depending on the epidemiological situation in the country and the recommendations of the experts. According to the CDC, it is too early to predict the level of morbidity and the national restrictions during the election week, so the CEC will continue to monitor and, if necessary, tighten security requirements.
The recommendations require that information on the recommended precautions for the prevention of COVID-19 virus infection shall be posted at the entrance to the building where the polling station is located and in the polling station:
- that persons who are under self-isolation, home quarantine or isolation, or who show signs of respiratory infection, should not be present in the polling station;
- recommendation on keeping a distance of 2 metres;
- recommendation on using a mouth and nasal covering;
- recommendation on disinfecting hands.
As in previous elections since the start of COVID-19, voters are encouraged to use their own pen at the polling station. If a voter does not have his/her own pen, it is advisable to disinfect the pens used at the polling station.
Hand sanitisers will be placed at the entrance to the polling station in a place accessible to voters. It is also planned to ensure that face masks are available at the polling station and are issued on request.
When setting up a polling station, it is recommended to keep a distance of 2 metres between the voters' registration desks and the polling booths. If there is a queue of voters, it will be advisable to form it outside the polling station, as was the case in last year's municipal elections.
The recommendations also include regular ventilation and cleaning of polling station premises, with disinfectants containing alcohol applied to common surfaces. The recommendations also provide for polling booths to be used without fabric curtains, as curtains are a surface that voters touch during the poll and cannot be properly disinfected. The voting cover is to be provided by arranging booths and screens with the entrance against a wall or against the enclosed part of an adjacent booth or screen.
Persons with signs of respiratory infection or subject to self-isolation, quarantine or strict isolation conditions shall not be allowed to vote in polling stations or to go out to vote. Therefore, when establishing polling station commissions, the municipal election commission must also provide back-up personnel – acting members of the polling station commission – who can be immediately deployed to ensure the elections in the event that members of the polling station commission or personnel are unable to attend the workplace due to illness or quarantine or self-isolation.
Enquiry line for the 14th Saeima elections (+371) 67049999
CEC Information Department
Tel. (371) 20237331