The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) has recruited 7,400 sanitisation officers dedicated to keeping the 2,200 polling station locations sanitised.
This was disclosed by Director of Elections, Glasspole Brown, today (August 27), on the JIS ‘Studio 58A’ Programme.
“We are going to insist that all who come to the polling station have on a mask, temperature will be taken, their hands will be sanitised and then they will be ushered into the polling station,” Mr. Brown said.
“In going into the polling station, there is a marker, and the presiding officer will require you to stand at a certain position and will ask you to temporarily remove your mask for them to see your face, so that they can identify you, and then the process starts,” he added.
Mr. Brown said while inside the polling station, the presiding officer will issue the ballot to the elector along with a pencil and direct him/her to the voting booth.
“The presiding officer will ask the elector [after voting] to place the pencil in a box marked ‘used pencil’. What will happen is that we will re-sanitise that pencil, as nobody will be using the same pencil more than once. So, every time an elector comes in you will basically be using a sanitised pencil,” he noted.
He said following that, the elector will be asked to dip his or her finger in the ink, after which the presiding officer will drop the ballot in the box.
“In fact, we will be going a little bit further… even for you to dip your finger in the ink, you have to re-sanitise your hands and I can assure everybody that our ink is alcohol based; it has certain chemical features that prevent infection,” Mr. Brown said.
“So, it’s a continuous process of sanitisation, ensuring that people wear the proper personal protective equipment. With those in place, we shouldn’t have any fear or any concern about contracting that virus (COVID-19) in any of our polling stations,” he added.
The Director of Elections noted that Election Day workers will be wearing face shields, face masks and in some instances, gloves, and noted that continuous sanitisation will take place during the day.
He further encouraged the electorate to follow the instructions given at the various polling stations.
“You are going to assist us in the process of wearing your mask and at the same time assist us by ensuring that you adhere to physical distancing, assist us by following the instructions that are given to you on the day by our workers, and ensure you do whatever you are asked to do. If we are able to do that, then I can assure you that it will be fairly safe on Election Day,” Mr. Brown said.
The EOJ and the Ministry of Health & Wellness have signed off on a COVID-19 protocol that is expected to help safeguard the health of citizens on Election Day.
The protocol is guided by the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Election Day workers, police and military personnel will vote on Monday, August 31, three days before the rest of the population, which is scheduled to vote on Thursday, September 3.