All eligible voters can cast ballots in the local elections on Nov. 26, as long as they comply with measures implemented under the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), Central Election Committee chairperson Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) said yesterday.
“Regardless of whether you test positive for COVID-19 or are obligated to isolate at home, you can vote in polling stations as long as you are legally allowed to go outside,” Lee said at the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee, in response to a question by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Loh Meei-ling (羅美玲).
Lee on Thursday last week told the committee that the commission could not establish separate polling stations nor extend voting hours to accommodate the needs of voters who test positive for COVID-19, as these accommodations would be “legally and practically impossible” to execute.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
At the time, the commission said its decision to bar quarantined COVID-19 cases and close contacts from attending polling stations on Nov. 26 did not contravene any constitutional principles.
However, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center, on Friday said the center would adjust the disease-prevention measures before the election, given that confirmed cases of COVID-19 are declining.
Separately, Lee said that polling stations should start counting votes when they close, and not wait until voting is complete in every polling station across Taiwan, as waiting could frustrate the public and cause chaos.
Lee was responding to a question from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷).
Hung said the local elections in 2018 were complicated by a jointly held referendum on 10 issues.
While some polling stations were able to start counting votes when they closed at 4pm, others were obligated to extend voting hours to allow people standing in line to cast ballots, he said.
Hung said that votes should not be counted at any polling?station until all have closed. Lee disagreed.
“If all polling stations must wait until problems in perhaps one or two stations are resolved, it would only make election day chaotic,” Lee said.
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