Home Minister Tito Karnavian has denied that any COVID-19 transmission clusters have emerged from the ongoing preparations for December’s simultaneous regional elections, adding that organizers are enforcing additional protocols to ensure the polls will be safe.Tito said that organizers had conducted individual verification for candidates between June 12 and June 24, which he said was one of the preparation stages predicted to be most prone to COVID-19 transmission. However, he claimed that there had been no reports of transmission from the verification process. Additionally, no clusters were reported when the ministry performed door-to-door checks to update data on the estimated 105 million voters between July 15 and Aug. 13. “I have not heard of any transmission clusters from this activity,” Tito said in a press conference after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.Amid reports of candidates violating health regulations while registering for the elections, Tito said that the lack of time to communicate the health protocols effectively could have lead to violations, or that some parties may have intentionally violated the regulations as a “show of force”.Read also: Voter turnout in upcoming elections may drop nearly 50 percent due to COVID-19: LSI To ensure safe elections, KPU chief Arief Budiman said during the conference that organizers would limit the number of attendees allowed at campaign meetings and face-to-face town hall debates to 100 and 50, respectively, while others would be required to participate virtuallyThe KPU will also limit the maximum number of voters at polling sites to 500, and will arrange voting schedules to prevent crowds, in addition to providing masks, face shields and gloves for organizers and voters.“We will also ask organizers to take a COVID-19 rapid test to ensure that they are not infected,” Arief said.Furthermore, Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) head Abhan said that additional legal tools were needed to enforce heavier sanctions against health protocol violators, such as using laws on health quarantines and infectious disease outbreaks.On Dec. 9, 270 regions will hold simultaneous elections, including nine provinces, 224 regencies and 37 municipalities. Some, however, have raised concerns that holding the elections during the coronavirus pandemic could increase transmissions.Topics :
Attorney General Curtis Hill announced that recipients of contributions from affiliates of two online schools that were found by the Indiana State Board of Accounts to have misappropriated funds should have the option of remitting the sum of those contributions to the Indiana Treasurer of State’s Office.As has been widely reported, the SBOA announced on February 12 its conclusion that public funds were misappropriated more than $68.7 million by Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy.The SBOA also found that both virtual schools inappropriately disbursed more than $85.7 million, collectively, in public funds to vendors in situations where there was no invoice or no itemized information on the invoice, and a related party was involved. “These revelations may be troubling to political candidates who received financial contributions from these schools or their affiliates,” Attorney General Hill said. “Donating the funds to charity may be a way of divesting from these organizations, but depositing the funds with the state subject to a completed investigation and final resolution may better preserve the state’s interest in restitution.”Under Indiana law, the Office of the Treasurer holds fiduciary responsibility for state funds, Attorney General Hill noted. “Because this money may belong to the State of Indiana and Hoosier taxpayers, these funds could be protected until a final disposition,” Attorney General Hill said. “This would provide a secure option for those who feel compelled to return the funds. Last Friday, my office requested that the Indiana Treasurer of State’s Office designate an account that will protect the state’s interest in this regard.
Statewide—Drivers in Indiana should know it is illegal to hold a cellphone or electronic devices while behind the wheel. Beginning July 1, Indiana Drivers will no longer be able to use cell phones while driving. In early 2020 Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed into law banning the use of cell phones while driving.The new measure specifies, however, that it will be legal for drivers to use phones if they’re mounted on a vehicle’s dashboard or in hands-free mode.Drivers will be able to hold and use a mobile device when their vehicle is stopped.State Representative Randy Frye stated that distracted driving puts the driver, passengers, and others on the road at risk. Distractions are the root cause of nine deaths every day in the United States. Starting next month, drivers caught violating this law could receive a fine for each infraction. To help drivers adjust their behaviors behind the wheel, they will not receive points against their driver’s licenses for 12 months.Disengaging ourselves from our electronic devices while driving is the newest behavioral challenge society faces to improving road safety. A few decades earlier, seat belt legislation passed to improve driver safety. It took time to change the mindset of drivers. Today, most people put on their seat belts without hesitation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of death by 45% and cuts the risk of serious injury by 50%.As Indiana continues its “Back on Track” plan more drivers are returning to the road. Along with watching our speed, driving sober and wearing a seat belt, it is just as important to eliminate distractions, put the phone away and make our roads safer. Let’s be mindful of our actions when we drive. While this new law goes into effect July 1, we can start practicing these safer habits now.