The initiative states in its single article that a new final sub-paragraph of the Constitution be incorporated into the transitional forty-first provision of the Constitution: «The Board of Directors of the Servel shall also, together with the Ministry of Health, issue a regulation governing the manner in which those persons diagnosed covid-19 positive may exercise their right to suffrage».
In this regard, Senator Araya noted that «we are proposing a reform to the recently approved Safe Plebiscite project so that infected persons or close contacts can vote. We do not want to propose a single formula since the Servel will have to see the best way for the vote to take place: they can do so through special premises, or through a different way such as e-voting or voting by mail.»
He added: «The important thing is that everyone can participate in the electoral process. We have seen that with the policies that the government is implementing these days we are unable to reduce contagion rates, so we are concerned that in October we may have a high number of infected people who cannot participate, which may lead some to raise a problem of legitimacy with regard to the electoral process.»
For his part, Senator Guido Girardi noted that «the issue is whether in a country like Chile being sick from a pandemic, where there is a great responsibility of the state for its negligence and erroneous strategy to cut the chain of contagion, they lose their civil and constitutional rights to participate in an electoral process as important as this.»
He added that «we believe that in the 21st century we must make it compatible to be sick with maintaining the right to vote, because it could also be extended to high-risk people who are afraid to go to vote. As volunteered, people who wish could sign up for a platform to participate»
Girardi stated that «today there are all digital technologies, fully encrypted and secure, that would allow you to vote from home or where they are isolated, or by mail and even the Proposal of the Servel, and that we find it the most viable, which are mobile ballot boxes».
He added that «there is the will of the Servel, of the presidents of both chambers, the support is cross-cutting and the only ones who have no interest in making the effort is the Government. We’re going to propose it as a bill and we’re going to invite other members of the Constitution Commission to sign it.»
«This can be regarded as a pilot,» he said, «so that, like other more advanced democracies, we have a more flexible but secure mechanism of participating in democratic elections. Two months of time in the 21st century to meet these challenges I think that’s enough.»
The Minister of Health, Enrique Paris, spoke today, in the balance of the pandemic, to the various parliamentary initiatives on giving the choices and contacts of covid-19 patients to vote in the plebiscite of 25 October.
«From a health point of view, we must avoid viral spread, which is why a patient with viruses or close contact must be strictly isolated,» he said.
Then Paris pointed out, bluntly, that «as a ministry of health we are going to stay in that line, unless Parliament, in fact, that the Executive and Parliament, who are in charge of making the laws, dictate otherwise.»