During any election in India, the public sphere takes up a frenzied collective behaviour, clamouring and shouting to have their voices heard amid the din of political speeches, announcements, and rallies. Elections necessarily include the obligation of all citizens to cast their vote. Still, in such times of mass hysteria induced by the COVID-19, it is natural that the voter turnout will be much less than would be expected under normal circumstances. But then again, isn’t it a national duty for all citizens to practise democracy and have their say in the general elections? How do we go about battling this dilemma?
Use Masks – At all times!
We have spent more than a year now being wary of the deadly COVID virus, and wearing masks has become almost customary – even if you want to step out of your house to get a packet of biscuits. However, some still wantonly violate this norm and roam around without a mask on their face. During elections, the crowds will be even denser, and hence, the practice of wearing a mask and shielding yourself from the virus is paramount.
Protect Your Hands
In the process of voting, your hands lie directly vulnerable to the virus since the voting machine, the pen, etc., are being touched by hundreds of other people – and you don’t know whether any of them are already COVID-positive. To remedy this, all you need to do is protect your hands by wearing the transparent gloves the election booth will provide you free of cost. By doing this, you eliminate a major part of the risk, which could have been deadly for you and your family.
Sanitise, Sanitise, and Sanitise!
This does not require saying, the more you wash your hands with soap or handwash, the more you eliminate the risk of contaminating the virus. On top of that, it is recommended that one carry a bottle of sanitiser in their pocket at all times. If, by chance, you feel like you may need to bring your hands close to your face to eat, or sneeze, etc., you can sanitise your hands first and then proceed. Sanitisers should be an integral part of your daily life in the times of COVID, and for good reasons too!
Maintain Social Distancing
Granted, there’s the thin scope of social distancing while standing in a queue at the election booth. However, for the sake of yourself and your family, stand at least a few feet away from the other people around you – and if they come too close, politely ask them to keep distance; after all, we’re fighting this virus together, and sometimes all you need to do is remind other people of that.
Even as the coronavirus continues to ravage the country, we mustn’t shy away from practising our democratic privileges. To build a strong community with emboldening ideals and make possible the society of our dreams, we must continue to fight for what’s right – and only a good voter turnout will ensure that we’re able to practice what we preach.