Bihar elections are NOT the first in the world since COVID-19
Claim: BJP President JP Nadda, in an interview to Editor-in-Chief of Zee News Sudhir Chaudhary on November 1st, claimed that Bihar's election would be the first in the world to be held amidst a pandemic while maintaining COVID-19 protocols. "Duniya mein yeh pehla chunav hai jo corona ke sankraman ke baad aur corona ke protocols mein lada ja raha hai." Nadda said.
Fact: This claim is not true.
According to the International Foundation of Electoral Systems, an international non-profit which records national elections across the world, 76 national elections were held this year as of November 3, 2020.
Major elections around the world
United States of America, Presidential Election, November 3, 2020
According to the US Elections Project, a nonpartisan open data website, by November 2, 2020, more than 99 million people had cast their vote using early voting. The US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) stated that they had planned for increased mail and absentee voting in multiple states and considered alternate measures to keep the voter safe for in-person voting. Rigorous hygiene procedures were also recommended at all voting locations. Frequently touched surfaces like voting booths, tables, doorknobs, desks, handles, light switches, toilets, faucets and sinks were supposed to be regularly disinfected. Election workers were told to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and to use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Only microfiber cloth was recommended to clean voting machines.
Poland, Presidential Elections, June 28, 2020
The Polish election was initially scheduled on May 10, 2020 but was rescheduled to June 28 due to the pandemic. As per the Special Election Act, on June 15, all election workers and voters were issued safety guidelines. Disposable gloves, masks and shields were provided for election workers. Hand sanitizers were provided for voters at the entrance to each polling station. Apart from physical distancing and disinfecting measures, regular airing of polling stations was done.
South Korea, Parliamentary Election, April 15, 2020
The National Election Commission (NEC), the independent electoral branch of The Republic of Korea swiftly sent out a 'voter code of conduct' where banners were placed to inform voters about the COVID-19 precautions that had to be taken at polling stations. COVID-19 confirmed or suspected patients were permitted to vote from home or hospitals via mail or absentee ballots. After voting at the polling booths, voters were asked to remove their gloves and drop them in the bin at the exit.
New Zealand, General Election, October 17, 2020
The electoral commission of New Zealand put out a range of measures to protect voters. The commission encouraged voters to vote close to home and also urged them to carry their own pens to mark their voting papers. Applications for postal voting were allowed with instructions for the same. Provisions were provided for voters who were in hospitals, rest homes and to those in self-isolation. Provisions were also made for voters to vote from overseas. In addition, inmates in correctional institutions who were eligible to vote were provided with voting services.