COVID-19 Precautions at the Polls
Monday, November 2, 2020 - 9:19am
The City of Madison is taking many precautions to make Tuesday’s Presidential Election safe and accessible.
Curbside voting will be available at all polling locations for voters with health concerns. A team of poll workers wearing yellow safety vests will be watching for curbside voters near a large flag that says Vote Here. If a curbside voter wishes to use their own ballpoint pen, they should wave the pen at the poll worker approaching their vehicle. Poll workers will check the voter’s ID through the car window. If a curbside voter needs to register, poll workers will be able to check the voter’s proof of address through the car window. The voter will mark their ballot in their vehicle, and poll workers will insert the ballot into the tabulator to be counted. The Clerk’s Office encourages anyone with the following symptoms (or in close contact with someone who has the following symptoms) to vote curbside:
- Shortness of breath
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
Inside the polling place, Plexiglas screens will offer additional protection at stations where voters and poll workers interact within six (6) feet of each other. Poll workers checking voter ID will compare the voter’s eyes with the image on the voter’s ID. Poll workers checking voter ID will not ask voters to remove their facemasks.
Each polling location will have hand sanitizer available for voters and poll workers at the entrance and exit to the polling place. Hand sanitizer will be kept away from the ballot table because wet ballots shred in the tabulator.
Voters are encouraged to wear facemasks. All poll workers will be wearing facemasks. The City will provide poll workers with facemasks, but poll workers may wear their own mask from home as long as it does not have a political or vulgar design.
The floor will be marked with painter’s tape to help voters maintain six (6) feet of social distancing while in line. Due to the need for social distancing, even a short line of voters could extend outside of the room where voting takes place. When selecting a voting booth, voters should stay at least six feet away from other voters who are not members of their own household.
Voters may use their own blue or black ballpoint pens to sign the poll book and mark their ballot. Voters who need to register to vote on Election Day can minimize the amount of time they need to spend at the polls by bringing a completed voter registration form with them to the polls.
Voters who still need to return their absentee ballot may deliver it to their polling location or have a friend, neighbor or family member deliver their ballot to the correct polling location. The ballot must be sealed in its certificate envelope bearing the voter’s signature, the signature of a witness, and the witness’ address. Curbside poll workers will accept the absentee envelope and take it into the polling place to be processed.
Poll workers will disinfect voting booths, pens, and touchscreens after each use. They will also continuously disinfect high-touch surfaces. Doors will be propped open where possible. AN hourly safety checklist will be used by poll workers to check for proper social distancing and that poll workers are wearing masks correctly.
Poll workers scheduled to work shifts on Tuesday will be asked health-screening questions provided by Public Health Madison & Dane County to determine whether they are able to work on Tuesday. Their shift will be cancelled if any of the following apply:
- Fever in the past 72 hours
- Fever-reducing medication in the past 72 hours
- Chills or body aches within the past 72 hours
- A cough within the past week
- Difficulty breathing in the past week
- Sore throat in the past week
- Cold-like or flu-like symptoms in the past week
Additional signage will promote wearing facial coverings in the polling place, encourage social distancing, and alert voters that poll workers may be using latex gloves.
Before heading to the polls, voters are encouraged to verify their polling location at myvote.wi.gov.
- Maribeth Witzel-Behl, (608) 266-4601, firstname.lastname@example.org