Multicabina and staggered hours: What are the measures that the ONPE will adopt for the 2021 elections?

The COVID-19 pandemic requires that the organization of the general elections on April 11 respect health parameters. In this report, learn about ONPE’s strategy to carry out the vote.

An unusual choices. In seven months, Peruvians will elect our next authorities: president and vice presidents, congressmen and representatives to the Andean Parliament. On April 11, 2021, a regular vote will not be held, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that requires an organization that respects health parameters. The new head of the ONPE, Piero Corvetto, has affirmed that he prepares a sanitary protocol together with the Ministry of Health to carry out the electoral process safely.

“We are going to have the protocols approved as soon as possible to be able to make acquisitions, training and awareness to guarantee the constitutional right to vote and the right to political participation,” said Corvetto in RPP Noticias.

Congress issued Law No. 31038 that incorporates transitory provisions to both the Organic Law of Elections (LOE) and the Law of Political Organizations (LOP). Thus, Congress gave an exceptional framework to be applied during the general elections of 2021 and grants powers to electoral bodies for their necessary regulation. One of these provisions establishes the extension of the voting hours from 07:00 to 19:00.

Corvetto indicated that ONPE’s strategy will be to organize the staggered vote. “It has been done well to extend the day by 50%, we went from 8 hours to 12 hours. We have to order the day, ”he said and added that there is evidence that between 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. many people attend to vote.

“The first two hours will be reserved for citizens with a higher risk. From the third hour until 7:00 p.m. [we have to] order it by the last number of the digit of your ID, “she said.

Likewise, he announced that not only will the classrooms of the schools be used for voting, but also parks, parking lots, soccer stadiums and coliseums will be enabled. “The concept of the polling place that we had is going to change,” he said.

Polling stations in schools are going to be reduced. There will only be one table per classroom and not all classrooms in a school will be used. In addition, each polling station will have a multi-booth. “Instead of a single booth, the citizen will have two voting booths, with which they will vote in one, while we are cleaning the other. That will increase the flow ”, he said.

Board member, key factor.
The ONPE chief is clear that, although this organizational effort can be achieved to manage the voting flow, a determining factor will be the participation of the polling station members. “We can make the most of the organization, but if we maintain the historical pre-pandemic tradition that 30% of tables are installed late or very late, imagine the crowds at the polling stations,” he said.

On this point, the political scientist and former head of the ONPE, Fernando Tuesta, also agrees, who stated that the disincentive to be table members is high. “You are working a long workday. And so, that has always caused absenteeism in the board members. When the table was not opened, people gathered. That in a pandemic is a danger, “said Tuesta for this report.

Corvetto has expressed that his proposal contemplates an economic allocation of 3% of a UIT, approximately 120 soles. According to his calculations, for the 282 thousand board members who are elected, at least 34 million soles could be allocated. “We have to ensure that they are trained. They have to combine knowledge of electoral training and protocol, with health protocols to take care of themselves and the voter. […] It is essential for the election system to be successful, that it be given a bonus. ONPE has the money in its coffers that were left over from other elections that have to allow us to use it, ”he said.

Tuesta believes that participation and security should be combined in these elections. In that sense, he said that after having the legal framework that extends the electoral hours, the efforts are aimed at distributing the voters in those twelve hours so that there is no greater agglomeration. “Election day is usually like a bell. It starts with few people, reaches a high point, and then descends. You have to distribute. One of the measures can be the last digit of the DNI. That requires all preparation, that the citizen is informed, “he said.

Likewise, he considered it appropriate that the polling stations be moved to squares, parks and other open spaces. “Let’s hope in general that the pandemic reduces its harmful effects in the coming months. If to that is added the measures taken by the ONPE, which, I believe, are going in the right direction. We must provide all the facilities, regulations and budgets, so that the ONPE can fully fulfill its functions, ”he said.

Tests for the board members?
For his part, the former Minister of Health Víctor Zamora considered that the protocol that ONPE is working with the Minsa considers the possibility that the board members undergo laboratory tests to confirm that they are not carriers of COVID-19. Likewise, it is recommended that voters are not accompanied by children and that acrylic barriers be implemented between the polling station member and the voter.

“The only measures we have must be guaranteed. Distancing and that will mean a system of appointments to make the vote and avoid clusters. The mandatory use of masks and alcohol gel in the voting centers so that people can clean their hands. If possible, the board members should have some certificate that they are not carriers of the disease, they should do a laboratory evaluation before they can sit down to direct the whole process ”, he declared for this report.

In Zamora’s opinion, the polling station members are going to be in contact with many people and manipulate the voting products, so “it is better if they go through a level of certification that they are carriers of the virus.”

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