Mitigation Measures during Elections and It’s Impacts on COVID-19 Pandemic: Sabah State (Malaysia), New Zealand and the United States

Authors

  • Syaza Zainudin
  • Mohd Amiruddin Mohd Kassim
  • Nor Nadia Mohamad Ridza

Keywords:

Election, COVID-19, voting, Sabah, New Zealand, United States

Abstract

Background and Objective: Countries all over the world respect the election process as
one of the fundamental steps in forming a government. However, the exponential spread of
COVID-19 has been deeply alarming, with a high number of positive cases and total deaths,
forcing World Health Organization to declare it as a pandemic on 11th March 2020. During
these unprecedented events, governments have had a tough decision to balance between the
constitutional obligation to hold an election and the safety of the people. As such, electoral
commissions have implemented numerous approaches to allow election to proceed in a safe
and controlled setting during the pandemic.
Methods: The preventative measures and standard operating procedures in the Sabah state
of Malaysia, New Zealand and the United States elections are discussed, as well as COVID19 post-election situation in respective countries. Innovative approaches and election
flexibilities shall be considered to allow voting in the safest way possible, following the new
normal.
Discussion: Nevertheless, countries need to evaluate its strength of public health response
when deciding to hold elections due to potential devastating outbreaks following elections
despite measures taken.
Conclusion: The election is a fundamental process in a democracy. Countries are required
to be flexible and innovative in their approach to hold a safe election. Nevertheless, it may
be prudent for countries with fewer resources and poor pandemic control to postpone
election as a rise in cases will be catastrophic, putting many lives at risk.

Published

2020-12-22