Training for Polling Station Staff Suspended Due to COVID-19

Thursday, October 1, 2020

With Burma’s general election just over one month away, training has yet to begin for polling station officers in Mon State due to a rise in COVID-19 infections.

The local election commissions had planned to offer the training in September, but it has been suspended.

“We have not been able to start training for polling station officers because of COVID-19 restrictions. If the COVID-19 control committee allows it, we will continue with implantation,” Hein Lin Htet, head of the Mon State Election Commission, told NMG. “If not, we will give [the officers] books of guidelines and videos. We have already prepared an alternative way to face this challenge.”

According to Burma’s election law, if a designated area has between 300 and 3,000 voters, there must be a polling station located there, with 10 staff, including a head polling officer, a deputy, and eight other staff members.

Some 15,000 teachers and other school staff from Mon State will be working at the polling stations during the election, according to the education department.

Dr. Cho Cho Myat Aung, the head of Mon State’s education department, said that this number includes 958 head officers, 955 deputy officers and 13,717 staff.

Of Mon State’s 973 polling stations, 840 are located on school grounds, Dr. Cho Cho Myat Aung said, adding that guidelines for COVID-19 prevention put forward by the Ministry of Health and Sports have been taken into consideration.

“We built a preventative system while preparing to open the schools. We have already built sinks for handwashing,” the education department head told NMG.

According to the Mon State Election Commission, there are more than 1.79 million eligible voters in the state for the election on November 8.