It is election time. If you are one of those citizens who for the first time has the right to vote in the United States, but you forgot or did not know that you have to register first, don’t worry there is still time.
The deadline to register by mail or online has already expired, but Karla García, who has worked for the Washington DC Board of Elections for 20 years, explained that she can still do it in person at any of the 32 polling places that will open in all of the District of Columbia, beginning Oct. 27. It is also possible to register and vote on the day of the elections in one of the 95 centers that will be authorized to vote.
You only have to carry an official identity document, be it a driver’s license or a passport; and, an account for the payment of any of the services (electricity, water or cable) stating your name and address and thus will be enabled to pay that same moment.
The Electoral Board of Washington, DC reported 5,136 new voters through September 30, with them reaching a total of 504 thousand 43 eligible voters.
To avoid long waits and endless lines, due to mandatory social distancing during the health emergency, it is recommended to go to the polling places that are open to facilitate voting in advance. For more information on these polling stations go to: www.dcboe.org.
For those 65 and older and for those with disabilities, this time around, the best option is to vote by mail or early vote. However, if they prefer to go to the polling places on November 3, Genaro Ruiz, an official of AARP, the organization that works for the welfare of the population over 50, recalled that people with disabilities do not necessarily have to enter the voting sites.
For them, as in all previous elections, there will be a bell that is installed at the entrance of the voting center. Through it they can call and someone will immediately come to help them to vote at the foot of the street.
“It is very important that those over 50 years of age vote, because it is the only way to let their voice be heard,” said Ruiz, during a virtual chat with El Tiempo Latino’s executive vice president of content, Rafael Ulloa. AARP is engaged in a campaign to protect voters who are retired or about to do so. This endeavor also demands that presidential, state, and local candidates explain how they will protect Social Security, Medicare, and what they propose to lower the cost of drugs.
In Washington, DC, AARP has about 83,000 members, many of whom are actively volunteering in the elections, but this time there is expected to be a stark shortage of that support.
AARP is among the nonprofit organizations that have come together to alert about the lack of volunteers at election time, especially now that help will be needed to enforce the protocols of always wearing the mask well and respecting the distancing of almost two meters between one voter and the other.
“Basically, we’re trying to make sure older adults who might be at risk for coronavirus aren’t getting unnecessarily exposed,” Courtney Cardin, Power the Polls director of influencer engagement and alliances, told the news system of AARP. Cardin said her goal is to replace the traditional older poll worker with younger people who may be more willing to volunteer. So far, 500,000 people have volunteered to work, across the country.
The recommendations of the Center for Infectious Diseases (CDC) to prevent the contagion of the coronavirus, are not only directed to the voters but also to the Boards that are in charge of organizing and setting up the polling places. In this case, all those who work on Election Day are required to wear face masks, that sufficient amounts of hand sanitizer, disposable wipes and trash cans are available that can be opened with the foot and are available to everyone.
Among the main recommendations for volunteers is that they wash their hands frequently, use gloves if possible, and place disinfectants on all the tables where the “I already voted” stickers are distributed.
Polling places will have several posters asking voters to comply with protection protocols. The ideal, although not mandatory, is that transparent dividers should be placed at the voter registration tables.
Apart from the health protection recommendations, the most widespread and insistent call is for them to vote; either by mail, by going to the early voting centers or on the day of the elections and having them do so for who they believe best represents their interests.