September 11, 2020
Proceso Constitucional

Servel announces the health guidelines for a safer National Referendum 2020

Servel announces the health guidelines for a safer National Referendum 2020
On Thursday, September 10, Chile’s Electoral Service (SERVEL) published in the Official Gazette the health guidelines containing a series of general and mandatory rules and procedures that will apply to everyone who takes part in the National Referendum 2020.

The Executive Board of the Electoral Service, in accordance with its legal faculties, has published the health guidelines for a safer National Referendum 2020. These were developed in agreement with the Health Ministry, following technical advice provided by the following organizations: The Pan-American Health Organization / WHO, the United Nations Development Programme, the Society of Infectious Diseases of Chile, the Chilean Epidemiology Society, the Chilean Red Cross and the National Emergency Office.

The 29-page document explains each of the measures to be taken to avoid the risk of spreading COVID-19. The document explains what every poll worker at each polling place will receive in the way of personal protective equipment. The roster for poll workers will be made public on October 3. Each poll worker will receive the following health kit:

(a) KN95 Masks (2 per poll worker).

(b) Face shields.

(c) 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizer for poll workers and voters.

(d) Alcohol or bleach-based disinfectants for surface cleaning and a disinfectant in spray form for the voting booth following the guidelines specified by the health authorities.

(e) Disinfecting wet wipes: alcohol-based (70%) or containing a bleach solution or quaternary ammonium. 

(f) Paper towels or napkins

(g) Nitrile gloves for ballot counting.

The maximum number of voters allowed into each polling place at any given time will be ten (10) per line. Floors will have social distancing markings and there will be posters put up explaining health measures and the voting process.

These health guidelines will be mandatory for voters, or their legal representatives, members of the armed forces and police officers safeguarding the polling places, both inside and outside. They will also apply to all public officials, irrespective of the organization they work for, who are performing tasks involved in the referendum process.

The following is a summary of some of the key points in these guidelines and regulations, as published on Friday, September 4:

1.- Voters can bring their own blue ballpoint pen for marking their ballot and for the sign-in book.

2.- Extended polling hours will be from 8 am to 8 pm.

3.- People aged 60 and over will have exclusive access between 2 pm and 5 pm.

4.- Voters are asked to arrive unaccompanied at the polling places, with the exception of those voters who need assistance to be able to vote.

5.- The use of masks is mandatory at all times. Voters must only remove their masks for three seconds so that the poll worker at the station can verify their identity. 

6.- Voters will be asked to disinfect their hands before and after voting using their own hand sanitizer or the hand sanitizer available at the polling places.

7.- Lines must be orderly and social distancing rules of at least one meter must be respected by everyone: voters, poll workers and anyone inside or outside the polling places.

8.- So as to avoid crowding inside or outside the polling place, once voters have cast their ballots they are asked to return home immediately without remaining in the vicinity.

9.- Voters aged 60 years and over who have been designated as poll workers by the Electoral Boards can excuse themselves from working in the referendum process (under normal circumstances this exemption would apply to those aged 70 and over).

10.- In order to ensure social distancing rules the number of polling places has been increased to 2,715 throughout the country — 25.9% more than in the 2017 elections. Electoral district boundaries have therefore been readjusted. Voters are asked to verify their assigned polling place at or as of October 3.