Quarantined people to vote at hospitals

Former President of the Elections Commission of Maldives, Ahmed Shareef. | Photo: Mohamed Sharuhaan

Male’, Maldives –President of the Elections Commission of Maldives, Ahmed Shareef has said that the only way for the people in quarantine or isolation can participate in the local council election is by taking them to the voting hospital under the supervision of the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Shareef informed that it is not possible for a separate ballot box to be kept in the facilities for those in quarantine and isolation. He said that instead of bringing ballot boxes, HPA will have to provide another way for those people to be able to participate in the upcoming local council election.

There is only one acceptable way. It is to take these people for voting under the supervision of HPA. This is because the people in isolation and quarantine facilities will eventually change. The people in the facilities today, may not be present in there tomorrow.

Shareef stated.

Shareef further elaborated his statement and said that the 100 people in those facilities may not even be there. And if that happens multiple issues will be raised as the voter’s list cannot be changed once it’s signed by the candidates.

Shareef said that changing the voter’s list is not something that can be done by the Elections Commission as well and that change cannot be brought to a such lists anytime a citizen is quarantined or released from quarantine.

However, he said that if the amount of quarantined/isolated people are considerably less, then it is possible for all of them to be taken to specific hospitals for voting.

However, Shareef added that a decision is yet to be made regarding this matter after properly discussing it with HPA.

If the amount of people raises above 1,000, then it may not be possible. But we are currently discussing it with HPA and we will only agree to a decision that lets the people vote.

Shareef stated.

The local council elections were initially scheduled to be held in April. However, due to the current Covid-19 pandemic in Maldives, the elections were postponed and is now to be held on March 6th of 2021.