No Face Mask No Voting, INEC Tells Edo, Ondo Electorate

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Voters in Edo and Ondo states have been told that they must wear face masks before they would be allowed to vote in the forthcoming governorship elections in the two states.

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, stated this on Thursday at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.

He said the measure was part of efforts by INEC to ensure the safety of voters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governorship election in Edo State is fixed for September 19 while that of Ondo State is scheduled to hold later on October 10.

Yakubu said, “It is mandatory for every voter to wear a face mask or face covering without which the voter would not be allowed to vote,”

On the type of face masks voters are expected to wear, he said they needed not surgical masks to cast their ballots but “a face covering will be sufficient for a voter to be accredited to vote.”

On measures to ensure physical distancing, Yakubu said there would be two queues: “One outside the polling area and the other, inside the polling area.”

He added that “within the inner queue, voters must maintain the mandatory two-meter or six feet distance and we clearly marked this in one of the by-elections we conducted recently.”

On Voters’ conduct in the polling units, he said they must avoid touching surfaces or leaning on walls.

Further noting that there was a protocol for voters with a high temperature, cough, or were sneezing, Yakubu said voters “must obey all directions from officials to stop other voters from getting infected.”

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He also said that the commission had a “procedure for evacuation” in case of emergencies and would be collaborating with health officials in the different states.

He said, “In Edo State, for instance, we are working with the State Response team.”

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