Reading Board of Health urges residents to vote by mail for the 2020 elections as a means to minimize the potential spread of Coronavirus and authorizes Safe Voting 2020 communications campaign
Reading, MA – Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Reading Board of Health strongly urges residents voting in a 2020 election to cast their votes by mail, rather than in-person. This would have the significant public health impact of lowering the number of people voting at in-person locations, decreasing potential risk of exposure to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Board of Health wants to draw the public’s attention to a significant change to voting options this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed legislation allowing all registered voters to vote by mail in 2020 elections. Mail-in voting is a two-step process, requiring the voter to (1) submit an application to vote by mail and (2) submit the ballot by mail. In Reading, there are two elections on September 1 and one election on November 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.
On July 30, 2020, the Board of Health passed a Motion to Encourage Residents to vote by Mail due to the Current COVID-19 Pandemic. The following Monday, August 3, the Incident Command Structure set up during the State of Emergency called for a committee to plan and implement the communication campaign. The committee includes members from across departments such as fire, police, library, public information, public works, the Town Clerk and RCTV. The “Safe Voting 2020” campaign is planned to be delivered to residents through multiple channels including the Town Website -ReadingMA.gov, Facebook, Twitter, Light boards/Message boards, SeeClickFix, and e-subscribe newsletters.
The Town has been collaborating with the Board of Health on plans 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.
For more information review Chapter 115 of the Acts of 2020 for the detailed legislation authorizing mail-in ballots for 2020 elections.