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COVID to keep more than 50,000 voters away from Taiwan local elections

5-day quarantine expected to affect between 50,000-70,000 eligible voters

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An estimated 50,000 to 70,000 people will be unable to vote in the Nov. 26 local elections due to COVID quarantine measures. 

An estimated 50,000 to 70,000 people will be unable to vote in the Nov. 26 local elections due to COVID quarantine measures.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – COVID-19 quarantine measures will prevent 50,000 to 70,000 eligible voters from casting their ballots in the Nov. 26 local elections, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Friday (Nov. 18).

Taiwan’s population of more than 23 million counts 19.3 million eligible voters from the age of 20, including 760,000 first-time voters, according to data from the Central Election Commission (CEC).

As the country currently maintains a five-day quarantine system, that means that voters confirmed as COVID cases after next Monday (Nov. 21) will not be allowed to head for the ballot box the following Saturday, according to CECC chief Victor Wang (王必勝).

He estimated the measure would prevent between 50,000 and 70,000 people from voting, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) reported. Over the past week, the daily number of new infections hovered around 20,000. Earlier suggestions for COVID cases to vote at separate sites or to send in ballots by mail were rejected by the CEC as lacking a basis in law.

However, there will be “green corridors” leading to special voting booths for voters who show symptoms of the virus, such as coughing, fever, and other respiratory problems but have not been diagnosed as COVID cases, Wang said.

He also called on voters whose quick tests at home had turned out positive for COVID but who had not yet officially been registered as COVID cases to stay away from the election in order not to infect others.