TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
TELEPHONE: (649) 338-2304/ OR (649)246-7742
CONSULTATION PROPOSED ON ADDITIONAL AMENDMENT TO THE ELECTIONS ORDINANCE FOR ADVANCE POLL COVID-19 VOTING
The Supervisor of Elections is inviting the general public to participate in providing feedback on a proposed additional amendment to the Elections Ordinance of the Turks and Caicos Islands relating to advance polling for COVID-19 and quarantine voters.
The consultation amendment on Advance Poll was in previous consultation previously; however, this further amendment to the Elections Ordinance is in light of COVID-19 being present in the Islands and the fact that general elections is scheduled to be held this year or early next year. It will give persons who are tested positive with COVID-19 or under quarantine, the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to go to the polls and vote during advance polling.
The proposed amendment to the Ordinance for Advance Poll stipulates the following:
An advance poll may be held one day prior to the day named as the polling day and it shall be lawful for a voter to record his vote at advance poll in the midst of a pandemic, if the voter has tested positive to the disease or has been placed under quarantine by order of the Chief Medical Officer.
A voter who wishes to vote at an Advance Poll shall, not later than ten days after the issue of a writ of election, make an application for approval to the Supervisor.
A voter who is approved to vote at an Advance Poll shall be allowed to vote in like manner as he would have been entitled to do on the day appointed for taking the poll, except that he shall not be allowed to vote at advance poll unless he produces proof of approval to vote at Advance Poll.
Protocols have been put in place by the Chief Medical Officer to regulate and control persons with COVID-19 and persons under quarantine; however, additional health protocols have been instituted for Voter’s tested positive for COVID-19, or under quarantine, and are desirous of attending polling stations to vote in Advance Poll the day before polling.
The Protocols established for COVID-19 positive, and persons under quarantine, to vote are as follows:
- The voter must prepare and submit to the Supervisor a request to vote in the advance poll.
- Before leaving isolation, the voter must notify the Ministry of Health (MOH) officials.
- Except as otherwise directed by the Supervisor or Returning Officer, when the voter is at the polling station he/she must wear n95/k n 95 mask fitted to cover the nose and mouth, a face shield, gloves and disposal gown.
- As far as is reasonably practicable, for the duration of time when the person is out of isolation, he/she will be required to maintain social distancing of six feet from other voters at the polling station.
- The voter must travel to and from the polling station in a private transportation via the most direct route.
- The voter must wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or sanitize hands before leaving the place of isolation.
- The voter must comply with all the protocols at the polling station.
- The voter must immediately return to their place of quarantine after voting.
- Poll workers will be train in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to assist voters who are positive for COVID-19 inclusive of persons in quarantine/isolation.
- Polling stations will be deep cleaned after COVID-19 positive persons have voted.
Advance Poll will be held one day prior to polling day at polling stations located in the ten electoral districts between the hours of 8am to 4pm.
The consultation will commence October 8th, 2020 and close October 21, 2020.
Lister Dudley Lewis
Supervisor of Elections