Legislative vote begins in Ebola areas in Congo after delay

An electoral agent arranges ballots at a polling station in Kinshasa, on December 31, 2018 the morning after the presidential elections. - The Democratic Republic of Congo on December 31, 2018 began counting ballots from a presidential election marked by delays and fears of violence and vote-rigging, straining hopes for its first-ever peaceful transfer of power. (Photo by Marco LONGARI / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
An electoral agent arranges ballots at a polling station in Kinshasa, on December 31, 2018 the morning after the presidential elections. – The Democratic Republic of Congo on December 31, 2018 began counting ballots from a presidential election marked by delays and fears of violence and vote-rigging, straining hopes for its first-ever peaceful transfer of power. (Photo by Marco LONGARI / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

Long-awaited legislative elections are underway in three provincial centers in Congo after authorities postponed them because of Ebola and violence.

In the town of Beni on Sunday, voters were washing their hands before entering polling centers as a protection against Ebola, which is transmitted by the bodily fluids of sick people.

Voters in Beni, Butembo and Yumbi were not allowed to vote in January when Congo chose a new president. Officials said the Ebola virus posed too great a threat at the time in the eastern cities of Beni and Butembo.

Elections were delayed in Yumbi because of inter-communal violence.

Voting turnout was expected to be low. Albert Somo, a teacher in Beni, said people were disappointed and discouraged because they were not permitted to participate in the presidential vote.