In light of the current global Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve made countless changes to the way we live our lives. And voting is no different. Although the local elections were postponed due to the virus in 2020, it has been announced that polling will still go ahead in May 2021, albeit in a different fashion to what we’re used to (and we’re not just talking bring-your-own-biros!).
In this blog, we’ll outline some of the key ways local councils can minimise the risk of spreading the virus by creating Covid-secure polling booths that keep both voters and volunteers safe.
1. Inform Voters of Expected Changes
If there’s one thing that’s sure to keep voters away from the polling stations this year, it’s uncertainty. By informing voters of any process changes, what they can expect upon arrival (like sanitising their hands, joining a socially distanced queue) and what they should bring (e.g. pens and face coverings), you’ll help take the fear of the unknown out of the situation.
We recommend mailing out flyers directly from a printing company like instantprint (as opposed to door-to-door leafleting) with all the information laid out for voters to read in their own time.
2. Create a One-Way System
One-way systems have been advised across a range of different venues since the start of the pandemic last year. From pubs and shops to the office, the majority of people will be familiar with these systems.
A one-way system helps users to navigate an area without breaking the two-metre distance guidelines, especially when passing on narrow corridors or walkways – plus it helps people not to bump into one another at entrances and exits.
As well as one-way signs, you can also print vinyl stickers for the floor with arrows pointing the direction you want voters to go – these stickers work on both indoor and outdoor surfaces so they can also help you manage the queues on polling day.
3. Add Clear Barriers
Volunteers are an essential part of any polling station, and to help make sure that they can stay safe, but also be on hand to help voters, we recommend setting up see-through banners in your polling station.
Clear roller banners are an easy option for these barriers – you can pop them wherever you need them and pull them up for simple assembly. These are great for areas where people will be standing and a two-metre distance isn’t possible, or if you need to create a one-way system by splitting up a corridor.
For tables, we recommend setting up sneeze guards. These are free-standing counter-top barriers with a PVC screen like those used by cashiers in the retail industry.
4. Set Up Hand Sanitising Stations
Something else we’ve had to get used to over the past year is sanitising our hands more often. Just taking a trip to your local supermarket for essentials will allow you to see an example of a hand sanitising station in action, and it’s something that the majority of people will partake in if it’s right there in front of them and they’re in a queue!
You can either set your station up on a spare table at the entrance of the community building or school where polls are taking place, or use a dedicated display stand with a podium for an extra polished finish.
Then, simply leave a couple of large bottles of hand sanitiser on the table along with a strut sign advising voters to make use of it – you can also pop up a hand rubbing hygiene poster that demonstrates how to use the sanitiser.
5. Supply Clean Face Masks
One of the most effective ways of mitigating the spread of Covid-19 is by wearing a protective face mask as it acts as a barrier to air droplets that leave our mouths when we talk, breathe or cough.
Type IIR Surgical masks are a single-use option that's used by medical professionals – we’re proud to supply our range of masks to the NHS! They have three different layers that other masks tend not to have, each of which with a special function. These layers are:
• A splash-resistant (AKA hydrophobic) outer layer
• A meltblown middle layer which acts as a filter (ours boast a boasting a >99% bacterial filtration efficiency!)
• A moisture-reducing, latex-free and super soft inner layer closest to your skin
It’s recommended that you change your face mask if they become damp or your touch them – so having plenty on hand for volunteers is a good idea. You can order boxes of Type IIR Surgical masks here.
6. Hygiene & Safety Signs
Along with all the usual signage you’d expect in a polling station, also remember to print off hygiene and safety signage. Messages about keeping rooms well ventilated, social distancing reminders and limited numbers at a time in the polling station signs are all great options to help keep voters and volunteers safe on polling day.
7. Don’t Forget the Essentials
Although lots of things will run differently at the polling stations in 2021, there are certain constants that you mustn’t forget about. Make sure to place a recyclable Correx® by Corplex sign outside that says ‘Polling Station’ to help show voters where to go – you can either reuse these signs again next year or pop them in a recycling bin!
You should also hang informational posters in the polling booth with instructions on how to complete the ballot paper to help voters understand how it works.
You can find our full range of election printing right here. Or if you’re not sure what print you need, what options to pick or would like to arrange a printing and multi-address delivery order, please get in touch with a friendly account manager here!