If the presidential elections are put off, it is highly improbable that the pandemic situation will improve because the state institutions are not efficient to the wanted extent. That’s why it is better to hold these elections, even if there are risks. The big problem is the fact that the pandemic factor can influence the election outcome, Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project “Developing political culture through public debates”, stated in the public debate “Elections in times of pandemic: necessity, risks, scenarios, solutions” that was staged by IPN News Agency.
The expert is convinced that the best solution was to adopt the decision to vote during two days so as to avoid crowdedness at polling stations.
According to Igor Boțan, the voter turnout cannot be anticipated, but statistics show that 40% of the citizens who do not believe in COVID-19 will probably go to the polls, but these have different political profiles and preferences. “The persons who are most active electorally, those who are older than 40, are also more vulnerable to infection and death. The attitude to them will be of ignorance if they get infected. That’s why the risk of the pandemic impact on the election results is very big and speculations can appear as to the fact that those who organized the elections didn’t do it properly,” stated the expert.
Igor Boțan noted that electronic or postal voting was also possible, but these eventual solutions have remained at the level of discussions. Such amendments are made in Parliament and most of the MPs must endorse such changes. In the runoffs, the authorities should think very well as, if there is an increase in the number of infections, they will be blamed and this will have an impact on the election outcome, which will generate different interpretations.
The public health situation can worsen as a result of elections as infected people can go to polling stations. The same voting stamps will be used and there can be crowdedness.
“The citizens must understand that the elections of November 1 will take place in very special circumstances. Those who are not afraid of COVID-19 should go to the polls, but should take care of those who are afraid of the virus. Those who are afraid of COVID-19 should make a choice: they either put the own health on the first place and public affairs on the second pace or they should overcome that fear and go and vote. Until then they should demand that the authorities organize voting in the best possible way,” stated Igor Boțan.
The public debate “Elections in times of pandemic: necessity, risks, scenarios, solutions” was the 157th installment of the series “Developing political culture through public debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.