ZAGREB, July 2, 2020 – The Electoral Commission (DIP) said on Thursday that the restriction on voting for people infected with the coronavirus was imposed under the law and served the legitimate purpose of protecting public health from an infectious disease.
“The restriction is appropriate to achieving this goal, and the Electoral Commission’s opinion is that it is also necessary,” DIP said in a response to GONG, a non-governmental election monitoring organisation that questioned its decision that voters infected with the novel COVID-19 coronavirus would not be allowed to vote in the July 5 parliamentary election.
“Any other, more lenient measure to achieve this goal would put the citizens’ health at risk. In this case, we do not think that one can speak of a lower or higher level of damage to the citizens,” the Electoral Commission said.
GONG had asked DIP to explain how its decision complied with fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Convention on Human Rights.
“Fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Convention may be restricted, but under strict conditions, as follows: a restriction must be explicit and clearly defined by law; it must serve a legitimate purpose; it must be appropriate and necessary for achieving such purpose; and there must not be any other more lenient measures in place, with a lower level of damage to the citizens, to achieve this purpose,” GONG said.
Citing the law on protecting public health from infectious diseases, DIP said that voters diagnosed with COVID-19 would not be able to vote because they were ordered to self-isolate, which means that they are not allowed to come into contact with other persons, including members of polling committees. It said that face masks and protective gloves could not provide sufficient protection for members of polling committees.