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Interior Minister Jan Hamacek (CSSD) outlined four proposals which were developed with the help of epidemiologists. They are now open for comment from political parties until August 4th. Photo credit: Freepik / For illustrative purposes.

Czech Rep., Jul 30 (BD) – Regional and Senate elections are approaching in October, and with the possibility of many citizens being confined to their homes due to the coronavirus, parliamentary parties have been discussing ways to allow those in quarantine to exercise their right to vote. In response, and with the help of epidemiologists, Interior Minister Jan Hamacek has put forward four possible methods of voting safely, which are now open for comment from political parties until August 4th.

The four options proposed by Hamacek include:

  • Drive-through polling stations, where voters drive through and place their votes from their car windows. These stations would be open a few days before other polling stations to ensure that ballot papers are not infected by the time of voting.
  • Special polling stations, to be set up in places such as retirement homes, where voting can take place within quarantine.
  • Proxy voting, allowing quarantined voters to legally nominate someone to vote on their behalf.
  • Designated teams of election officials who would visit voters’ homes in protective clothing to collect their votes. 

According to Hamacek, the best-case scenario is for all four options to be adopted, and he also said he hoped to see consensus between political parties. If all the parties agree on which measures to support, the proposals can be discussed and voted on by the Chamber of Deputies by August 17th.

He added that without a change in the law, it will not be possible for people in quarantine to vote, and if these measures are adopted, they will apply only to people who are in an official quarantine known to the authorities, which currently numbers around 3,500 people. He ruled out postponing the election due to the crisis.

The measure considered most controversial is for proxy voting, which is available in several European countries, including France and the UK. However, Deputy Interior Minister Petr Mlsna told Seznam News that the measure was in accordance with the constitution, and that data would be verified thoroughly. 

Hamacek dismissed an opposition proposal for postal voting, on the grounds that it could not be brought in before the election, and did not sufficiently protect against the spread of the virus.

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