Israel’s Central Election Commission has been trying for a few days now to identify locations where polling stations can be placed for individuals who are suspected of contracting the coronavirus and who are staying in home isolation, Kipa reported Tuesday. As of Monday, about 1,200 Israeli citizens have notified the health ministry of entering home isolation, having returned from China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, South Korea and Japan. Italy may soon be added to the list, in light of the recent outbreak there.
The special polling stations will be located away from the regular polling facilities, so as not to jeopardize the public health. The election commission is setting up to erect dozens of tents throughout the country, especially in large cities and in areas where, according to the health ministry’s information, there is a high concentration of people in voluntary home isolation.
Their cost of this operation is estimated at 150,000 shekel ($44,000).
The tents will have two separate sections, completely dividing voters and members of the ballot committees, who will be equipped with protective gear. The voter will present an ID and remove his or her face mask for identification, in a manner that will not endanger the ballot committee members.
The election commission will establish a protocol for dispatching the special ballots and counting the votes. Voting will be done using outer envelopes, to prevent double voting – both in the regular ballot boxes and in the special ones. The “suspected” voters will get directly to the designated ballot station and return home immediately. They will use private vehicles and not public transportation, in order to reduce their interaction with the public.
The Election Commission is looking at the accelerated training of medical and paramedical teams, made up of nurses, medical students and EMT personnel who are familiar with caring for patients under isolation. According to that plan, the teams, which will number from a few dozen to a few hundred individuals, will undergo a training day this coming Friday, three days before the March 2 election.