RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Hundreds of Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers throughout Virginia will be helping out with safety at the polls on Election Day.
The MRC volunteers will help assist election officials safely conduct in-person voting by encouraging appropriate COVID-19 precautions. They will staff local polling places to encourage voters to use masks and hand sanitizer and to help staff and voters remember to maintain at least six feet of physical distance.
Across the Commonwealth, VDH reports that 50 localities have asked for MRC assistance at over 1,000 polling locations for November 3. The MRC plans to have nearly 900 trained volunteers across the state out helping. Officials say the training has been provided by the Virginia Department of Elections and VDH.
“We are very proud of Virginia’s residents who have volunteered with the Medical Reserve Corps during the COVID-19 pandemic response. These trained and dedicated professionals have helped care for residents of nursing homes, tested people for COVID-19, worked countless hours at call centers and served in many other ways,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “We recognize the importance of voting, and the MRC will be there to help protect the health of our residents exercising that important right at polling places.”
Virginia Department of Health (VDH) State Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Freeland and MRC staff say they have been making plans for Election Day since the spring.
“The Governor’s Office activated the Virginia MRC to ensure that voters could vote safely during the elections in May. Since then, MRC volunteers have eagerly stepped up to serve for early and in-person voting. Our teams are prepared and ready to make the November Election Infection Prevention deployment a safe experience for voters and poll workers,” said Freeland.
The MRC volunteer group is also trained to spot opportunities to reduce transmission of germs, such as keeping doors propped open where possible to minimize the number of surfaces voters may touch, increase area ventilation and safely enter and exit the building.
Tips for Voting During the COVID-19 Pandemic:
- Make a plan. Visit the Virginia Department of Elections website for more information on options for voting in Virginia.
- Wear a cloth face covering or mask, if you are able, at all times while voting.
- Exercise proper social distancing by maintaining at least 6 feet of separation from other voters and poll workers.
- Consider staying more than 6 feet away from people who are not wearing cloth face coverings.
- Practice good hygiene.
- Do not use physical greetings, such as handshaking.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before and after voting. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
- Avoid touching your face and face covering.
For more information, visit the Vote Safely section here.