As election officials plan for upcoming elections in 2020, they are weighing options to ensure elections are safe, secure, accessible and accurate. Planning for the potential increase in voters casting an absentee or mail ballot is one such consideration, but election officials are preparing for in-person voting as well. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is committed to assisting local election officials administer safe in-person voting operations during this uncertain time. To help with that process, the EAC has compiled COVID-19 specific resources intended to assist election officials with administering in-person voting in the wake of COVID-19. Below are resources for cleaning and sanitizing equipment, poll worker resources, and other guidance. For additional information not found on this page, please visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources page.
- CDC Recommended Precautions for Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Election Polling Locations, including Cleaning and Disinfection (updated June 22, 2020) - This guidance provides recommendations on the routine cleaning and disinfection of polling location areas and associated electronic equipment. It suggests actions poll workers can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by limiting the survival of the virus in the environment and modifications for polling locations to keep voters and election workers safe. This page also includes recommendations for voters so they can be prepared if they decide to vote in-person. This guidance was updated with input from the EAC. Note: election officials should consult their vendors regarding recommendations on cleaning and other matters specific to election technology used in their polling locations.
GCC and SCC Resources
This series of documents was created as part of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC) and Sector Coordinating Council’s (SCC) Joint COVID Working Group. These documents provide guidance for state, local, tribal, and territorial election officials on how to administer and secure election infrastructure in light of the COVID-19 epidemic. GCC and SCC materials on absentee and mail voting can be found here.
In-Person Voting Materials
Innovative Practices and New Solutions Guide – This document from the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and Subsector Coordinating Council's Joint COVID Working Group, outlines several innovative and successful responses in election administration during COVID-19. It offers tangible shifts in operations for the November election, both as principal and backup options. The document also covers the importance of resilient Election Day operations as last-minute changes are highly likely. Innovative Practices and New Solutions provides key guidance for all levels of election officials to ensure a safe and secure election in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finding Voting Locations and Poll Workers – The Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and Subsector Coordinating Council’s Joint COVID Working Group developed this resource to provide guidance to election administrators conducting in person voting in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The document outlines challenges election officials may face procuring polling places and poll workers, and how to address them. They also discuss considerations for increased physical and cybersecurity risks associated with in person voting.
- Considerations for Modifying the Scale of In-Person Voting – The Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and Subsector Coordinating Council’s Joint COVID Working Group developed this resource to provide guidance to election administrators conducting in person voting on a different scale during the coronavirus pandemic. If adjusting in person voting procedures is not available, the resource discusses how election administrators can maintain a footprint similar to what has been previously maintained. Considerations for combining precincts and alternative vote centers are also discussed.
- Health and Safety at the Polling Place – The Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and Subsector Coordinating Council’s Joint COVID Working Group developed this resource to provide guidance to election administrators regarding health and safety at vote centers during the coronavirus pandemic. The document provides suggestions for protecting poll workers and voters regarding PPE, cleaning and disinfecting, and establishing procedures. Considerations for modifying poll working training, opening polling locations, and returning supplies are included.
- Safeguarding Staff and Work Environment from COVID-19 – The Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and Subsector Coordinating Council’s Joint COVID Working Group developed this resource for election officials regarding the safety of employees and work environment during the coronavirus pandemic. Establishing new safety measures, making considerations for isolating staff, and regular disinfecting protocols are included. Suggestions for providing personal protective equipment (PPE), and having a plan for exposed employees are also highlighted in the document. Lastly, agency transparency and considerations for cybersecurity regarding remote work are highlighted in the document.
Manufacturer Cleaning Guidance for Election Equipment
- The EAC has complied manufacturer guidance for cleaning and sanitizing election equipment due to COVID-19. Please visit our Manufacturer Guidance on Cleaning Voting Machines and Other Election Technology page to access in depth procedures for cleaning polling place equipment, tabulation devices, marking devices, and mail ballot processing equipment to company standards.
Poll Worker Resources
The EAC has complied a variety of poll worker resources to address challenges election officials may face in light of COVID-19. The Poll Worker Resources page provides information for election worker laws and statutes by state, best practices for recruitment, retention, and training election workers, and other useful resources.
EAC Public Hearing – Election Response to COVID-19: Administering Elections During The Coronavirus Crisis
- On April 22, the EAC conducted a virtual hearing to discuss issues facing state and local election officials regarding elections and the COVID-19 pandemic, including considerations regarding the expansion of voting by mail and absentee voting. This hearing included a discussion on considerations for in-person voting with state and local election officials, an advocate for voters with disabilities, and a representative from the CDC. A recording of the hearing can be found here. The portion discussing in-person voting begins 1 hour and 3 minutes into the hearing.