Voting in a Kovid Epidemic: Wear a Mask and Bring Your Own Pen


Early voting has already generated long, long lines in many states, and with the November 11 election, many states and cities have taken security measures to protect voters and poll workers from exposure to coronoviruses.

But polling places are still likely to hold “mass gatherings”, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in an advisory issued on Friday that it said measures could be improved to prevent the spread of Kovid-19 is.

The CDC gave its latest advice on a survey from the experiences of 522 poll workers in Delaware’s statewide primary in September.

Guidelines issued by the agency in June recommended various ways to reduce congestion at polling places, including absentee voting and extended voting hours.

To cut disease transmission, the CDC also recommended putting physical barriers between voting machines; Separating machines from each other; Signs for people waiting in line for a vote or a 6-foot distance with floor markings; Designing separate entrance and exit; Protective gear for poll workers assisting sick voters – use of masks, face shields, gloves and gowns; And to allow people who are ill to vote.

The report states, “It will be necessary to ensure that sick voters can vote to the voting worker and reduce transmission without limiting the right to vote.”

But in Alabama, where curbside voting was allowed, the state’s attorney general ordered that it be stopped, and on Wednesday the US Supreme Court upheld the ban.

A new poll of Delaware polling workers did not reveal whether any of the Kovid cases were related to polling stations. Only the workers’ comments about the conditions and practices at the state’s 99 locations included questions.

A Delaware poll found that most activists and voters wore masks, but did not always use them properly to cover both the mouth and nose. Voters were less careful than pollsters. About 73 percent of respondents said that they had rarely or other workers seen wearing masks incorrectly. But only 54 percent of workers polled said they rarely or never saw the use of sloppy masks by voters.

Noting that “substantial proportions” of polling personnel saw incorrect mask use by voters, the report noted, “sending further messages on proper mask use at polling places, strengthening the effectiveness of masks during upcoming elections” May be required for. “

The CDC suggested that providing masks for voters “may support the adoption of individual prevention practices.”

Poll personnel were more likely to use hand sanitizers than voters.

The report stated that nineteen of the 522 activists surveyed had contact with nineteen voters who were ill, with or without a known Kovid diagnosis. Fifteen of the 19 said they wore masks during that contact, but did not wear any of the other protective gear recommended by the CDC for such encounters: face shield, gown, gloves. The survey suggested that workers had “limited training” in the use of gear.

Poll activists face a number of risks in general: many are chronic, with health problems that make them particularly vulnerable to serious illness if they contract Kovid. And they come into close contact with many people on election days, often closer than the 6-foot “social distance” to reduce the transmission of the virus.

The report said that the relentless efforts to recruit young poll workers could reduce the proportion of people working in serious cases of Kovid.

Meanwhile, the CDC offered a list of ways to help reduce the risk for voters: at mid-morning like off-peak times; Monitor the voter line from your car and join it when the line is short; Fill out any required registration forms ahead of time and review a sample ballot at home to cut down on time spent at the polling place; And get your own black ink pen, or stylus, to use touch screen voting machines.

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