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INEC To Redesign Polling Units To Comply With COVID-19 Regulations -Details

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The independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) has during the Covid-19 pandemic stated that polling units should be redesigned by each commissioner to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 protocols established by health care authorities.

INEC officials also noted redesigning of would be more emphasis on general hygienic conduct, enforcement of Covid-19 preventive measures, and social distancing.

The Commission also stated this ‘Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic’ signed by INECs Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, released on Monday.

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INECs Chairman also noted that on Election Day, the use of face masks should be mandatory for everyone present in the polling units and all the election locations. Therefore any voter who is not without a face mask should turn away from the polling unit.

He said, “However, the Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) II in checking the Register of Voters may request removal of the mask to prevent voter impersonation.

“There shall be a two-tier queuing system at the Polling Unit – one outside and the other in the voting area. Voters will be brought into the voting area periodically to prevent overcrowding.

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“Tags and twines may be used to ensure crowd control and maintenance of social distance.

“To accommodate additional activities in setting up the PU due to COVID-19, polls shall now commence at 8.30 am and close at 2.30 pm.

“Anybody on the outer queue by 2.30 pm shall be allowed to vote, in line with the Commission’s regulations.

“Before the commencement of polls, the Presiding Officer or Assistant Presiding Officer (VP) shall ensure that the contents of the Voter Code of Conduct (VCC) are read out loudly to voters and that the VCC Poster is pasted at the polling unit,” Yakubu said.

Yakubu stated that there should be periodic disinfection of chairs, tables and work areas, as well as adequate ventilation at the Polling Units.

“The Smart Card Readers (SCR) shall be cleaned with the prescribed disinfectant after each voter’s fingerprint is read.

“Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other safety materials shall be provided for polling staff.”

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