At least 9,000 people request exemption from electoral duties
The data are not definitive and for the moment represent 11% of the total
BarcelonaThe Catalan Government strives to ensure that the polling stations will be "fully safe" places on February 14, but the pandemic and doubts that the executive itself had expressed until just a few days ago regarding the election date do not help. Poll stations are manned by citizens picked randomly amongst those on the electoral lists. The over 65s are exempted, yet others may ask for dispensation. This Tuesday, Catalonia's High Court communicated that at least 9,109 people have applied for a dispensation. The data is not complete as some areas are still to bring it up to date, but it already represents 11% of the total number picked to man the polling stations.
As is natural due to the volume of people, the Barcelona area is the one that accumulates the most applications: 3.250. It is followed by Sabadell (1,012), Granollers (849), Sant Feliu de Llobregat (838), Reus (687), Arenys de Mar (648), Terrassa (622), Vic (463), Igualada (384) and Vilanova i la Geltrú (356). Although they include some of the most populated areas, they only make up 14 of the 31 areas.
It is also unknown how many of these requests have been accepted. This Tuesday ARA tells the story of Jordi, a chronic cancer patient whose application for dispensation, despite his family doctor's statement that he was vulnerable to covid-19, was denied by the Manresa area electoral board. The board's refusal is based on the government's arguments, claiming that on Sunday February 14 "there will be sufficient health measures" in polling stations.
In total there are 82,000 Catalans who should have received the summons to man one of the 9,000 polling stations spread throughout the territory. All of them have a maximum of seven days to request dispensation should they not want to take part. It is Area Electoral boards who decide whether to grant the request, including in the case of the sick.