Election officials set up a special polling booth outside a polling station in Incheon, exclusively for voters who are quarantined for possible COVID-19 infection on Tuesday, prior to Wednesday’s parliamentary elections. (Yonhap)
In Wednesday’s general elections, even those in quarantine can vote.
South Korea will pick 300 members of the National Assembly in the first nationwide election to take place during the pandemic.
According to the National Election Commission, there are about 50,000 eligible voters under self-quarantine.
Not all can vote. Only those who express their intent to vote by 6 p.m. Tuesday will be allowed to step outside their places of isolation to visit polling stations. They also have to be free of symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever or cough, on Election Day.
There are some strict guidelines to follow.
Quarantined voters have to wear face masks and travel on foot or by car. Using mass transportation is strictly prohibited.
They are only allowed outside from 5:20 p.m. to 7 p.m. and they cannot make any stops en route to or from the polling stations.
Depending on the jurisdiction, they either will be monitored by a tracking app or escorted to the polling stations by health officials. In areas that cannot provide escorts, quarantined voters have to use the app to report that they are leaving home to vote or send a message to a designated government official.
Quarantined voters must arrive at the polling stations before 6 p.m. and wait outside in a designated area until polls close for ordinary voters. While waiting, they must maintain at least 2 meters of distance from each other.
Voting will take place in a separate booth, where disinfection officials fully equipped with protective gear are on standby.
What follows next is the same procedure in place for ordinary voters. All voters will have their temperatures checked at the entrance, and will be required to use hand sanitizer and put on plastic gloves provided at the station before entering the booths. After voting, plastic gloves have to be discarded in a designated bin.
Officials in protective suits, face shields, masks and surgical gloves will disinfect ballot stamps and polling booths immediately after each ballot is cast.
The voters must arrive home before 7 p.m. and upon their return they have to report their arrival via the app or a mobile message.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org