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Argentine province of Salta holds local elections under sanitary protocols

Monday, August 16th 2021 - 08:51 UTC
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The “health facilitator” is an official created by Argentine electoral authorities for the present covid-19 scenario. The “health facilitator” is an official created by Argentine electoral authorities for the present covid-19 scenario.

The Argentine province of Salta Sunday held local elections of provincial and municipal lawmakers through an electronic ballot system and amid special covid-19 protection measures.

A total of 1,052,535 citizens were allowed to choose 12 provincial senators, 30 provincial deputies, 343 municipal councillors, and 60 delegates to a constitutional convention from seven electoral fronts authorized to participate. Also at stake, Sunday was the position of mayor of the municipality of Aguaray.

A total of 3,198 voting desks were established throughout 505 polling stations under a new health protocol set forth by local electoral authorities.

Voters who were detected to have a body temperature of 37.5 degrees or higher were allowed to vote first and then referred to health authorities for further testing.

“From the record of a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees, the protocol indicates that that person must vote with priority over the rest of the voters,” explained Salta Electoral Court Chief Justice Pablo Finquelstein explained, who added that “it is understood that fever alone is not enough” to believe a person is sick with covid-19, so they were anyway allowed to vote.

The person in charge of measuring people's temperature was the “health facilitator,” a figure created for this year's elections due to the pandemic. This new office will also be in place for the national mandatory primary elections on September 12 and again for the general mid-term polls in November.

Of the 1,052,535 salteños registered to vote 60.2% turned out Sunday, a number which was obviously conditioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

“How can we not be grateful to the people of Salta, after a year and a half of work and effort putting our soul against the pandemic. Thank you dear Salta people, I carry you in my soul and my heart and we will continue working to make it a fair Salta,” Governor Gustavo Sáenz said. His political coalition emerged victorious in most categories.

Salta's was a pilot experience for the upcoming national elections, which, analysts in Buenos Aires say, will show the effects of the last political scandal when a picture of President Alberto Fernández and his family holding a party in disregard of the quarantine he had mandated through an emergency decree became public knowledge last week.

While consulting and survey firms were still assessing the full damage to the Government's image over the weekend, there was consensus that the ruling party will by no means near the number of votes it received in 2019, while the turnout factor also needed to be measured in a pandemic scenario.

The Government is also believed to be losing the support of the younger generations who are unable to find a job and let alone study when most sources of income have been lost or degraded over the last year and a half.

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