On September 18, the Central Election Commission of Georgia (CEC) approved an epidemiological protocol for the polling day of the October 31 elections. The protocol defines sanitary and hygiene rules at polling stations and it is based on consultations with key stakeholders from the Election Administration, political parties, CSOs and international organizations.
Members of the Precinct Election Commission, as well as other authorized personnel present at the polling station, will be subject to stricter rules, including temperature checks, hand hygiene, and mandatory face masks. They will be supplied with safety face shields as well.
According to the CEC, disinfection barriers, hand sanitizers and information on preventive measures against the spread of the virus will be available at the entrances of polling stations. The Election Administration will ensure that frequently touched surfaces are regularly disinfected, and that the buildings are ventilated naturally as much as possible.
As for the voters, they will not need to undergo temperature checks, but wearing face masks will be mandatory. Voters without face masks will be provided masks on-site. However, to be allowed to vote, voters will have to remove their masks twice for identification and other law-specified purposes. Each voter will be supplied with a new pen which has to be put into a special container after casting a ballot. Moreover, polling booths will be arranged in a way that maximally ensures health safety rules without breaching vote secrecy.
The working group, consisting of the CEC and relevant stakeholders, will continue working on the electoral participation of epidemiological risk groups.