Balancing health risk and suffrage

posted September 18, 2021 at 12:20 am
Toward the weekend, the Department of Health cautioned the Commission on Elections against allowing COVID-19 patients to vote in person in the May 2022 elections, fearing this might lead to added transmission of cases.

The government’s election watchdog had said isolation centers—in an unprecedented situation due to the pandemic since the right of suffrage became a political exercise in this country—would be set up in polling places to allow COVID-positive voters to still go out of their quarantine areas to vote.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said a mouthful during a press briefing Friday when she stressed: “We all know that when a patient goes out of his or her room or area he or she can infect other people.”

There is wisdom in that admonition.

But that does not mean, by any yardstick, the qualified voters who are COVID-positive should be deprived of their right and privilege to select their next set of leaders.

Vergeire added what should be heeded by the Comelec: For the latter to consider other modes to enable the COVID-positive voters to cast their vote.

Nearly two weeks before the end of registration and before the filing of certificates of candidacy, we do not want to second guess that the Comelec does not have hot to trot options to balance the COVID-positive citizens’ right to vote and protecting the health of the general population.

Voting is the cornerstone of democracy where the citizens participate by voting for their leaders to represent them and their ideas.

But the surge in infections has not abated, and is even projected to see new highs. 

The right to vote should not endanger the health of the healthy.

Topics: Department of Health , Commission on Elections , COVID-19 , May 2022 elections
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