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World 'Bring your own pen': How Bolivia is voting amid the pandemic

00:45  19 october  2020
00:45  19 october  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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Lithuanians will be encouraged to bring their own pens to minimize infection risk at Sunday's parliamentary election, which is seen as Mindful of contagion, election officials have asked voters to mark ballots with their own pens . For early voting this week, they also set up a drive-through center

Lithuanians will be encouraged to bring their own pens to minimize infection risk at Sunday's parliamentary election seen as a vote of confidence on Prime Minister Under Lithuania's hybrid election system, half of the 141-member parliament will be elected on Sunday in a proportional vote .

By Marcelo Rochabrun

a group of people standing around a table: Presidential election in Bolivia © Reuters/DAVID MERCADO Presidential election in Bolivia

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Deni Blanco used to sell food outside voting locations in La Paz each election cycle, an easy way to make some extra money. This year, as Bolivia holds elections in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, she is selling something else: pens.

"My sister saw it on TV, that this time every voter should bring their own pen to vote, and she said, 'Why don't we sell them?'" Blanco said, outside an outdoor voting location in Ciudadela Ferroviaria, a low-income area of La Paz.

Blanco was selling pens for 1 boliviano ($0.15) each, and after two hours of voting said she had sold around 50.

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So, how can people address these challenges and reduce the amount of stress that comes with working exclusively from a home environment? “Firstly, accept that stress levels will likely be higher for many at this time — whatever you’re feeling is valid considering the current context,” said Hounsell.

Similarly, if you’re worried about your health amid the coronavirus pandemic , you can take action by regularly washing your hands, cleaning surfaces, avoiding When your mind wanders back to worrying or the feelings of uncertainty return, refocus your mind on the present moment and your own breathing.

Bolivia is holding mandatory in-person presidential elections on Sunday, even though it has been hard-hit by the pandemic. Nearly 8,500 Bolivians have died of the disease, giving it one of the highest fatality rates per capita in the world.

For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread of COVID-19, open (https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/) in an external browser.

Bolivia's ballot, much-delayed due to the pandemic, will be a test for electoral authorities in the region. Neighboring Peru is set to elect a new president next April.

Americans are also set to elect a president next month, but while in the United States citizens can vote over several days or by mail, that has never been an option in Bolivia.

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'If a voter wishes to bring their own pen and use that , it 's fine.' #usepens: Twitter is full of messages urging people to vote with a pen after Leave campaigners said they were concerned their vote with a pencil could be rubbed out. This is one of many tweets lampooning the theory.

Voters should bring along pens to EU referendum polling stations to avoid an MI5 plot, according to Leave campaigners. Backers of Brexit are urging people to write in pen to ensure Numerous people are sharing messages telling people to bring along pens to stop a possible conspiracy to rig the vote .

Paceños, as residents of La Paz are known, said they generally felt safe about the protocols, but social distancing was not always easy to maintain. Voters must wear masks, while poll workers wear goggles in addition to masks.

"People don't respect the social distancing," said Eric Echevarria, who voted for the first time.

Among the changes is that citizens used to be able to vote anytime between 8 a.m and 5 p.m. Now voter rolls are split into morning and afternoon voting pools.

Bolivians also used to dip their fingers in purple ink to make a fingerprint after casting their vote. Now the ink must be touched with cotton to avoid contagion, though not everyone follows that rule.

"There are people like me who can dip the finger, after all I'm not sick," said Deisy Mamani, a voter in La Paz's Zona Sur.

(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun in La Paz; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Coronavirus cases are surging again. These states have refused to loosen rules on who can vote by mail. .
Most of the roughly 30 million registered voters who live in Texas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee have no choice but to cast ballots in person this fall. Texas is one of five red states that emerged as conspicuous holdouts this year as the rest of the country rushed to loosen voting rules because of the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the roughly 30 million registered voters who live there, and in Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee have no choice but to cast ballots in person this fall, even as the rate of coronavirus in the United States approaches its third peak.

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