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  • Citizens walk down a boulevard in Santiago, Chile, July 25, 2020.

    Citizens walk down a boulevard in Santiago, Chile, July 25, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 1 September 2020
Opinion

Senators want to prevent possible electoral absenteeism from affecting the legitimacy of the upcoming constitutional plebiscite.

Chilean Senators Guido Girardi and Pedro Araya Tuesday will present a constitutional reform project so that the Electoral Service (SERVEL) allows people infected with COVID-19 to vote in the October constitutional plebiscite.

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Chile: COVID-19 Patients Won’t Be Able To Vote In Plebiscite

The SERVEL and the Health Ministry "must dictate a regulation defining how those persons with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis may exercise their right to vote," Araya said.

"We propose an amendment to the recently approved Secure Plebiscite bill so those infected or suspicious patients can vote,” he added.

“We do not want to propose a unique formula. SERVEL will have to weigh the best way to ensure voting. They will be able to carry it out either using special polling stations or implementing electronic voting or mail-voting."

Senators are concerned over the fact that the increasing rate of infection could affect the voter turnout and pose a legitimacy problem to the electoral process.

Girardi stressed that President Sebastian Piñera's administration bears a great responsibility in the pandemic's mismanagement due to decisions that did not allow to prevent the chains of infection in a timely manner.

“Being sick with the COVID-19 cannot mean losing your civil and constitutional rights nor losing the right to participate in such an important electoral process,” Girardi said.

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