READING, MA — The Reading Board of Health is urging residents to vote by mail, rather than in-person, in the 2020 election. Local health officials say this would have a “significant public health impact” by decreasing the potential risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
On July 30, the Board of Health passed a motion “to encourage residents to vote by mail due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.” The following Monday, Aug. 3, a committee was formed to plan and implement a communication campaign. This committee includes members of the police and fire departments, library, public information office, public works, town clerk and RCTV.
The “Safe Voting 2020” campaign is planned to be delivered to residents through multiple channels including the town website, Facebook, Twitter, light/message boards, SeeClickFix, and e-subscribe newsletters.
Mail-in voting is a two-step process, requiring the voter to submit an application to vote by mail and submit the ballot by mail. In Reading, there are two elections on Sept. 1 and one election on Nov. 3. Registered voters should have already received their application for mail-in voting. Those with questions can contact the Town Clerk (781-942-9050) or download an application from: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleev/early-voting-by-mail.htm.
The town has been collaborating with the Board of Health to increase the safety of in-person voting for early voting and Election Day voting. Current plans include increased spacing between voting booths, use of masks and hand sanitizer, limited-number queues inside buildings and early voting locations that permit greater social distancing. All COVID-19 mitigation strategies and best practices will remain in place: social distancing, masks, hand-washing/sanitizer, and cleaning protocols.
This article originally appeared on the Reading Patch