COVID positive voters will drive up to one of four special voting stations and hand their ballots to officials in full protective gear, according to special rules created for an election in a pandemic.

Chief Electoral Commissioner Joseph Camilleri on Friday walked reporters through the process for positive cases as well as those in quarantine. 

Officials have been preparing for months to make sure people affected by the virus are still able to cast their ballots - a situation that has become more important as COVID-19 cases increase to 2,073 active cases as of Friday.

All voters who as of March 12 are confirmed as COVID positive or ordered into mandatory quarantine will be able to vote in these facilities. 

What is the system for people with COVID?

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Malta. Photo: Ivan MartinCOVID-19 cases are on the rise in Malta. Photo: Ivan Martin

Voters with COVID and those who are ordered into preventative quarantine will go to the same polling stations but will have separate systems. 

The stations are in Smart City, Ta Qali, the San Gwann Life Sciences Park (outside Mater Dei Hospital), and at the Xewkija racecourse in Gozo.

Covid positive patients will arrive at the same facility in their car but directed to a separate entrance. 

These voters will have their ballot handed to them at their car.

If there are two people in a car, one of the two will be escorted to a specially set up voting room.

What is the system for people in quarantine?

People with COVID-19 will arrive at separate entrances to those in preventative quarantine. Photo; Ivan MartinPeople with COVID-19 will arrive at separate entrances to those in preventative quarantine. Photo; Ivan Martin

Those who are in mandatory qurantine, but are not COVID positive will be assigned to a specific COVID voting station. 

They will be given a voting booth as normal and deposit their vote in a ballot box. 

Electoral commissioners, wearing protective gear and public health officials will monitor the process to ensure against contamination and the booths will be cleaned after each vote.

Pencils will be taken away and fumigated.

After voting closes, ballot boxes will be taken to the Naxxar counting hall. And will be sealed there in a designated COVID counting centre. 

These centers were approved following discussions with parties and health officials, Camilleri said. 

Gozitans in Malta and Maltese in Gozo will not have to return to their home island to vote. 

Quarantined and positive voters will all be contacted by the Electoral Commission and given detailed instructions.  

What will happen if case numbers rise further?

Polling booths will be disinfected after each voter. Photo: Ivan MartinPolling booths will be disinfected after each voter. Photo: Ivan Martin

Camilleri said his team has identified three other sites  for COVID voting if there is a spike in cases in the final week. These are Pembroke, Ħal Far, and MCAST in Paola. 

The commission, he said, is following the local pandemic situation on a daily basis. 

Camilleri also said that some 510 voters will be participating in early voting tomorrow Saturday March 19. 

This will include residents at 34 elderly homes and St Vincent de Paul hospital, people traveling abroad, or those due to go to hospital for a medical procedure on regular voting day. 

Prisoners at the Corradino Correctional Facility will also vote on March 19

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