Pandemic elections: What other countries have voted during COVID-19? – National

For the primary time in Canada’s political historical past, federal elections are being held throughout a worldwide pandemic.

When Justin Trudeau referred to as the snap vote final month there was a refrain of outcry from the opposition leaders concerning the timing of the election in the midst of a fourth wave of COVID-19.

Trudeau has repeatedly defended his determination, saying at a press convention final week that he had completely no regrets triggering the election.

Learn extra:
Right here’s what’s completely different about this yr’s federal election in Canada

Canada’s instance isn’t the primary. The truth is, since March 2020, when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Well being Group (WHO), dozens of nations have gone forward with casting ballots in native and nationwide elections — albeit below tight restrictions and security protocols.

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Dr. Horacio Bach, an infectious illnesses professional on the College of British Columbia, stated it’s secure to carry the elections so long as all the general public well being pointers are revered.

“If everybody is constant (to comply with) the rules, greater than seemingly the transmissibility can be minimal or near zero,” he instructed International Information.

With greater than 78 per cent of the eligible inhabitants absolutely vaccinated, Bach stated he didn’t anticipate an enormous spike in circumstances after the polls, however that’s one thing that can have to be monitored going ahead, he stated.

International Information took a have a look at another nations that voted throughout COVID-19, what measures have been in place and the way the outcomes turned out.

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Majority of Canadians against having an election throughout pandemic: Ballot

Majority of Canadians against having an election throughout pandemic: Ballot

South Korea

In April 2020, South Korea was among the many first international locations to carry a nationwide vote for the reason that pandemic started.

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President Moon Jae-in’s ruling occasion gained an absolute majority within the parliamentary elections that set a document for voter turnout of 66.2 per cent — the best in nearly 30 years.

Strict COVID-19 measures have been in place, with authorities disinfecting all 14,000 polling stations and requiring voters to put on masks, have their temperatures checked, use hand sanitizer and plastic gloves, and preserve bodily distance from others.

Regardless of almost 30 million folks popping out to vote, there have been zero circumstances of native transmission associated to the elections, in keeping with public well being officers.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Scientists explain why some in South Korea tested positive for COVID-19 twice'

Coronavirus outbreak: Scientists clarify why some in South Korea examined optimistic for COVID-19 twice

Coronavirus outbreak: Scientists clarify why some in South Korea examined optimistic for COVID-19 twice – Apr 16, 2020


Following a tense marketing campaign marred by studies of violence, arrests and intimidation, the African nation of Burundi elected a brand new president in Could 2020.

Governing occasion candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye was declared the winner after clinching 67 per cent of the votes. Greater than 4 million folks forged their poll.

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Voters have been requested to go away after casting their poll and no gatherings have been allowed close to polling stations.

Simply days earlier than the Could 20 ballot, the nation expelled the nationwide head of the WHO and three members of his workforce, with out giving any causes.


In June 2020, Serbia grew to become the primary European nation to carry a nationwide election for the reason that continent went into lockdown.

The parliamentary vote was initially deliberate for April, however was postponed amid COVID-19 issues.

The ruling Serbian Progressive Occasion (SNS) of president Aleksandar Vučić earned a landslide win with greater than 60 per cent of the vote.

Masks weren’t obligatory however have been really useful, they usually have been made obtainable to voters at polling stations.

Weeks later, authorities declared a state of emergency within the capital Belgrade, re-imposing some restrictions after a surge of infections.

Soccer matches with 1000’s of followers, spiritual festivities and parliamentary elections have been believed to have contributed to the spike in circumstances.

Click to play video: 'Pandemic passes two grim milestones in Europe'

Pandemic passes two grim milestones in Europe

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Sri Lanka

After delaying them twice, Sri Lanka held its parliamentary elections in August 2020 that handed president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his older brother, Mahinda, an amazing majority.

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Based on the well being pointers issued by the federal government, events have been suggested to restrict election rallies to 300 folks, which may very well be expanded to permit 500 folks for occasions attended by occasion leaders. Door-to-door campaigning was restricted to 5 folks.

Within the lead as much as the polls, the South Asian nation additionally held a mock election as a trial run of COVID-19 measures, together with masks, face shields, bodily distancing and voters bringing their very own pens and pencils to mark poll papers.

Sri Lanka voters sporting face masks and washing their palms as precautionary measures towards coronavirus earlier than casting their votes outdoors a polling station throughout the parliamentary election in Colombo.

Photograph by Saman Abesiriwardana/Pacific Press/LightRocket by way of Getty Photographs

United States

The COVID-19 pandemic was on the centre of a polarizing election marketing campaign in the USA that noticed Democrat Joe Biden defeat his Republican opponent Donald Trump.

Greater than 91,000 new every day infections have been recorded on Nov. 4, taking the nationwide caseload previous 9.38 million folks.

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Whereas many Individuals took benefit of expanded entry to mail-in voting, strains have been lengthy in lots of polling locations throughout the nation.

The 2020 U.S. presidential elections noticed a document voter turnout of almost 158 million — 66.2 per cent of eligible voters, in keeping with a Pew Analysis Centre evaluation.

In the course of the marketing campaign, Trump, a vocal critic of lockdown restrictions, drew sharp criticism from political opponents, voters and well being specialists for his dealing with of the COVID-19 disaster.

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Israel, a worldwide chief in COVID-19 vaccinations, held parliamentary elections in March of this yr.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing allies fell in need of successful a parliamentary majority.

After weeks of political impasse, Israel’s parliament accredited a brand new coalition authorities in June that despatched Netanyahu into the opposition after a document 12 years in workplace.

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Naftali Bennett, the pinnacle of a small ultranationalist occasion, was sworn in as the brand new prime minister on June 13.


In April 2021, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Occasion (LDP) misplaced all three seats in parliamentary by-elections.

Anger with the federal government’s dealing with of the COVID-19 pandemic and a sluggish vaccine rollout contributed to the election end result, in keeping with analysts.

Common elections are set to happen later this yr. Prime minister Yoshihide Suga, who changed Shinzo Abe final yr and has seen his approval ranking plummet throughout the pandemic, has introduced he is not going to run.

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In June, Iranians elected the nation’s new president.

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Hardline judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi clinched a landslide victory in a vote that noticed the bottom turnout in a presidential vote within the Islamic Republic’s historical past. Some 48.8 per cent of eligible voters forged their ballots.

Voter apathy was partly fed by the devastated state of the economic system and subdued campaigning amid months of surging COVID-19 circumstances.

On election day, ballot employees wore gloves and masks, and a few wiped down poll packing containers with disinfectants.

— with information from Reuters, the Related Press

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