Health Protocols for Polling Places

Polling Place Conduct Recommendations and Cleaning Practices

In a desire to create safer polling places during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, Denton County Elections Administration has designed new conduct recommendations and cleaning procedures for polling places in upcoming elections.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends certain actions within the polling place to prevent the spread of disease.  These include action items such as routine cleaning of surfaces, practicing frequent hand hygiene, wearing masks, and remaining socially distant from others. Working together, we strive to provide safe polling place environments for voters and poll workers alike.

Face masks or face coverings are highly encouraged for all people that enter Denton County polling places.  Additionally, we are advocating that people stay at least 6 ft. away from others to every extent possible.  Every location will now include distance markers to provide guidance for social distancing, as well as, protective shields installed between voters and poll workers during check-in.  Voting during Early Voting and during non-peak times of the day is also a great way to limit your exposure to others in the polling place, since typically there will be less people present.

All polling places are now provided with a Safety Vote, which is an all-in-one sanitization station.  It includes a no-touch hand sanitizer dispenser, sanitizing wipes, paper towels, and a waste receptacle.  The Safety Vote allows easy access to cleaning and hygiene products for both voters and poll workers.  Additionally, sanitation supplies are provided to poll workers and they are instructed to routinely clean frequently touched surfaces including, but not limited to voting booths, doors, and styluses.  Sanitized pens will be offered to each voter.  After the voter is finished using the sanitized pen, we ask that the voter deposit the pen in the collection bucket for pens near the exit of the polling place.  Periodically a poll worker will collect the pens and sanitize them for further use.  Potentially the building utilized for a polling place may have temperature-taking stations.  We are encouraging poll workers and voters to take advantage of these stations.  If a poll worker discovers that they are running fever, they will be sent home.  If a voter discovers that they are running a fever, we urge them to take advantage of curbside voting in order to protect others.

As a reminder, voting by mail is another option for voters.  In order to be eligible for a mail ballot, the voter must fall into one of four eligibility categories.  Those categories being 65 years of age or older, disabled, out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance, or confined to jail, but otherwise eligible.  You can find instructions for completing an Application for Ballot by Mail at: https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/voter/reqabbm.shtml

If a voter is physically unable to enter the polling place, he or she may ask that an election officer bring a ballot to the entrance of the polling place or to a car parked at the curbside. After the voter marks the ballot, they will give it to the election officer, who will put it in the ballot box. Alternately, at the voter’s request, a companion may hand the voter a ballot and deposit it for him or her.  If you plan to vote curbside, it’s best to call ahead to the elections office (940.349.3200) to make sure the election officials are aware of when to expect you.

Denton County Elections Administration implores voters and poll workers to follow all CDC recommendations for safer polling places and to utilize all voting options available for qualified voters.  We are striving to provide safe and healthy polling place environments and are committed to developing enhanced practices for future elections.