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World News

Polish government to allow postal votes in May presidential election

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s ruling nationalists want to give all citizens the option of a postal vote in presidential elections scheduled for May 10, despite calls from critics to postpone the ballot due to the coronavirus.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party filed draft legislation for the postal vote amendment in parliament on Tuesday.

“Every voter, inkeeping with formal requirements, will be able to vote without having to personally go to a voting booth. The rules will only apply once, during the 2020 presidential elections,” the draft legislation stated.

As it stands, only Poles over the age of 75 or those with certain medical conditions are eligible for postal votes.

Poland held local elections in some areas earlier this month, where staff at voting booths had masks, disinfectant gel and gloves for voters to use.

The government has not yet laid out its plans for physical polling stations.

Poland has confirmed 2,215 coronavirus cases and 32 deaths and on Tuesday told citizens to wear gloves while shopping, closed all parks and hotels and decreed that all minors will not be allowed to walk outside unaccompanied by adults.

Critics, including Poland’s human rights commissioner Adam Bodnar, said elections could pose a threat to the health and safety of voters if held. Recent polls show a majority of Poles want the elections to be postponed.

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska and Anna Koper; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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