‘Drive-through’ polling booths are being contemplated to allow people positive for COVID-19 to vote in the next general election.

Two sources familiar with plans being drawn up by the electoral commission told Times of Malta they could be a workable solution for all those in quarantine during the election.

“We are trying to give every eligible voter the chance to cast their ballot, even if they have contracted COVID-19,” one source said.

“However, for logistical purposes, there will have to be a cut-off date as to when someone declared positive can be reassigned to vote at one of these drive-through booths, instead of at a regular polling station.”

This means it is unlikely someone who tests positive on the eve or day of the election will be able to vote, though the cut-off date has yet to be set.

The booths will instead host early voting, similar to what happens in homes for the elderly.

One source insisted the plan would need to be voted on by parliament but another said these “procedural changes” would not need to go before the House if both parties agreed on them.

We are trying to give every eligible voter the chance to cast their ballot, even if they have contracted COVID

“The plan is broadly in place. It is just a matter of activating it now, possibly through a legal notice,” the second source said.

On Thursday, independent candidate Arnold Cassola urged European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders to ensure Maltese citizens in quarantine are not denied their right to vote.

Cassola has written to the electoral commission to ask for assurances and was told talks are being held with the health authorities.

Talks are being held with the health authorities

Times of Malta has previously reported how the regular voting process is expected to remain the same but will be “somewhat slower” due to capping on the number of people allowed into voting stations. 

No date has officially been set for the 2022 election, with the latest possible date being September.

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