The State Electoral Commission (SEC) and the Committee on Infectious Diseases presented the coronavirus safety protocols that will be used to reduce the spread of the virus during the July 15 elections. SEC President Oliver Derkoski said that 20 percent of polling stations will be relocated to reduce congestion.

We are going for schools with larger classrooms and sports halls which will allow dispersed voting. By Thursday we will know the exact locations, Derkoski said in a TV interview, a day before the official campaign has begun.

Polling stations will need to be disinfected before the voting, using 70 percent alcohol or other disinfectants that kill viruses. Voters will be required to wear masks which will be removed only briefly when they will need to be identified by the electoral commission. They will need to wait at least 1,5 meters behind the previous voter and will need to have their hands disinfected before they enter and after they vote.

A polling station will allow only as many voters as there are polling booths at one time. The booths won’t be disinfected after every voter. The members of the electoral commission, who are recruited among public sector employees, will have to change their masks every four hours as they interact with the voters and will change their gloves during each break.

Derkoski warned that the changes are being made with short deadlines and that it will be likely that issues will occur. “We will again have the OSCE report note that the electoral rules are changed under unsustainable deadlines”. The SEC head said that it is likely parties will dispute the conduct of the elections because of the way they are being organized. He urged the Government to hurry with the distribution of protective equipment to the SEC, considering that we are talking about 35.000 public sector employees who will need to conduct the elections and protect their own health in the process.