As the novel coronavirus spreads through the U.S. during presidential primaries, election and government officials are determining the best way forward to allow voters to cast their ballots safely. Overseeing absentee, early, and in-person voting during an unforeseen and unprecedented pandemic has forced authorities to overcome new virus-related hurdles: providing adequate cleaning supplies to polling places, moving polling places out of nursing homes, avoiding pollworker absenteeism, and ensuring there are a sufficient number of pollworkers on site.
Today, no issue is more pressing than addressing election safety with respect to COVID-19. Though we’re likely to see an uptick in absentee and vote-by-mail, our goal is to assist our customers in the safety, security, and sanitation of early, absentee, and election day locations.
Our first recommendation is polling places follow CDC guidelines, which advise pollworkers receive thorough training on properly sanitizing equipment and social distancing to protect themselves and their voters from contracting the virus. CDC posters, available in multiple languages, should also be visible and posted throughout polling locations to remind voters and pollworkers of precautions they can take to prevent the spread of germs and identify symptoms of illness. Furthermore, the CDC recommends sanitizing pollbooks as well as voting and tabulating equipment at regularly scheduled intervals throughout each day during voting periods. This means sanitary supplies must be readily available at each voting station or booth, and pollworkers and voters must be advised and frequently reminded to sanitize all equipment prior to use.
To this end, Inclusion Solutions is pleased to introduce our patent-pending, customized Infection (Coronavirus) Protection Kit for election administrators, which includes everything officials need packaged in convenient kit form, to improve the sanitation of polling places including:
• “Vote” masks
• Custom sanitizers for pollworkers and voters as well as gloves
• Cleaning supplies customized for a variety of voting machines and/or epollbooks
• Instructions and cleaning protocols for every part of the election day environment
We have worked with voting machine manufacturers, medical professionals, industry experts, and in accordance with CDC guidelines to create this integrated solution that includes everything states’ jurisdictions need to protect poll workers and voters.
And to help with budget, the U.S Election Assistance Commission recently clarified states may use a portion of their HAVA funds to assist counties in combating the coronavirus pandemic. States EAC Chairman Ben Hovland, “The EAC commissioners and the EAC staff are working to provide information and resources to election officials, coordinating with state and federal partners, and offering whatever support we can at the federal level to help state and local officials administer safe, secure, accessible, and accurate elections.” Moreover, the recent stimulus package includes up to $400 million more for states.
Common-Sense Solutions Will Play a Key Role
Right now the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 are dominating headlines, and you’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed or find yourself focusing on worst-case scenarios. So let’s take a second, breathe deep, and remember that when it comes to administering elections during a public health emergency, there is no silver bullet. But by adopting common-sense solutions, officials can avoid many foreseeable problems and increase the likelihood that this year’s elections can be carried out safely and effectively.
We have repeatedly communicated to our customers that Inclusion Solutions views this unusual time as an opportunity to showcase our leadership in this space, and in particular our ability to come together with our customers to help them administer fair, safe elections. To learn more about Inclusion Solutions’ Infection (Coronavirus) Protection Kit, contact one of our experts today.