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Concerns raised months ago over covid impact on elections

Wed, 21 Jul 2021

By Chris Cave - Local Democracy Reporter
By Chris Cave - Local Democracy Reporter
Concerns were raised with the Department of Infrastructure months ago over the potential impact of Covid-19 during elections.
Council minutes show issues were outlined over how to hold elections in the event of Covid restrictions.
Hundreds are unable to vote in tomorrow’s local authority ballot due to self-isolation.
Before the elections were delayed for a second time in March, questions were already being asked about plans in place for if the elections needed to go ahead during some form of lockdown.
The minutes reveal a number of local authorities had been in discussion with the DOI over contingencies as early as January this year.
Despite those concerns, Infrastructure Minister Tim Baker confirmed yesterday legislation hadn’t been amended ahead of tomorrow’s vote.
It’s caused outrage among some candidates and voters affected who fear it’s unfair, undemocratic and could influence the result of the election.
Voters in seven local authority areas are preparing to head to the polls as the Island deals with a surge in coronavirus cases.
In Castletown, staff are taking lateral flow tests before being allowed to work at the polling station, in a bid to make the election ‘as safe as possible’.
After initially saying all alternative methods for those who are in self-isolation had been explored and found to be unviable, Mr Baker offered a glimmer of hope they may be able to take part in the vote.
Yesterday evening, the department said options were still being explored.
However, no announcement has yet been made with the polls opening in just over 14 hours time.


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