Published: 31st March 2021
Teachers in TN petrified about Election Commission’s decision to give extra hour for COVID patients to vote
Two days ago, there was panic at an election training centre in Ramanathapuram when news spread that one of the teachers was COVID positive
With COVID cases rising, teachers posted on election duty are worried about their safety. But with the Election Commission’s decision to allow COVID positive voters to come to the booth in the evening and cast their votes, the teachers say they are beyond worried at this point.
Due to the pandemic situation, the Election Commission has extended voting hours by one extra hour. The timing for voting has been fixed from 7 am to 7 pm and between 6 pm to 7 pm the Commission has said people with COVID can come to cast their votes. People who have a temperature above 100 Fahrenheit will have their temperature taken again and if it reflects the same number, they will also be asked to come back during this period.
Two days ago, there was panic at an election training centre in Ramanathapuram when news spread that one of the teachers was COVID positive. According to reports, the other teachers started fleeing the centre. The teachers are worried not only about their health but also the health of the public, they say. “Most voters will choose to come in the morning, afternoon most will avoid. Then in the evening, there will be a rush because people will be hurrying at the last minute to cast their votes. So it is very dangerous if COVID positive patients also begin to come at that time,” said PK Ilamaran, the President of the Tamil Nadu Teachers Association.
“This will also cause panic among people who want to use that last hour to vote but will probably prefer to stay away because they fear contracting the virus. Now with the second wave coming, people are already reconsidering voting. This will affect the percentage of voters. In order to ensure 100 per cent voting, the Commission should take action on this matter and allow only postal votes for people who are COVID-19 positive,” the TNTA statement.
The TNTA is also requesting the Commission to provide food for the teachers since they would be working from the previous day itself and through the night, “Due to the extended hours, teachers especially women who are doing election duty in villages will leave quite late from the booths and reach only around midnight. So we also request the commission to provide transportation services.”