Recommendations for the prevention of infection Covid-19 in the Riga City Council elections of 2020

Amended by the Central Election Commission

Decision No 32 of 13 August 2020




for the prevention of infection Covid-19 in the Riga City Council elections of 2020


The Recommendations have been prepared on the basis of Cabinet Regulation No. 360 adopted on 9 June 2020 “Epidemiological Safety Measures for the Containment of the Spread of COVID-19 Infection”, which lays down the basic principles and precautionary measures for the containment of the spread of COVID-19 infection, as well as the requirements and restrictions for gathering.

(As amended by the Decision No 32 of 13 August 2020)

The objective of the recommendations is to reduce as much as possible the risks of the spread of Covid-19 infection in the Riga City Council elections of 2020 by implementing measures to protect voters, members of the polling stations' commissions and employees, as well as election observers during the electoral process, at the same time ensuring for citizens the electoral rights specified in the City Council and Municipality Council Election Law and in the Law on Dissolution of the Riga City Council.

1. Location of polling stations

1.1. Do not site polling stations in buildings where the most vulnerable groups of Covid-19 infections reside – in medical institutions and social care institutions.

1.2. Ensure that pre-schoolerss, pupils, students are not present in pre-school educational institutions and educational institutions, where polling stations are located, during the time when the polling stations are open to voters.

1.3. On both the election day and the early voting days, place polling stations in possibly larger premises with good ventilation and the possibility of regular airing.

2. Layout of polling stations

2.1. At the entrance to the building, where the polling station is located, and in the polling station display information on the security measures to be followed when staying in the polling station:

2.1.1. warning signs indicating that persons to whom self-isolation, home quarantine or strict isolation applies, or who have symptoms of a respiratory infection may not come in the polling station;

2.1.2. warning signs regarding keeping the distance of 2 metres;

2.1.3. guidance notices regarding the sanitizing of hands. The use of mouth and-nose covers (respirator, face mask, scarf, kerchief, etc.) may be mandatory when the epidemiological situation changes rapidly.

(As amended by the Decision No 32 of 13 August 2020)

2.2. In the premises of the polling station, as well as in washrooms, to place information with a reminder regarding the fulfilment of hygienic requirements:

• frequently and carefully wash your hands with soap and water, especially after visiting public places, before eating, before touching your face, after using the toilet.

• if it is not possible to wash your hands, clean your hands with alcohol-based handrubs.

• Remember that touch-sensitive devices, such as smart telephones, may be contaminated by viruses and bacteria, so it is necessary to clean those regularly using alcohol-based disinfectants.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with dirty hands.


2.3. Put alcohol-based handrubs in a visible and accessible place for voters near the entrance to the polling station premises. Invite voters to sanitize their hands before and after attending the polling station.

(As amended by the Decision No 32 of 13 August 2020)

2.4. Ensure the possibility for members of polling station commissions, employees and observers to perform hand hygiene. The disinfectant must be readily available at the workplace in order to allow the hands to be disinfected immediately after possible contact with the voter.

(As amended by the Decision No 32 of 13 August 2020)

2.5. Place face masks in a visible and accessible place for voters before entering the polling station. Invite voters and election observers to use mouth and nose covers.

(As amended by the Decision No 32 of 13 August 2020)

2.6. When arranging seats for voter registration, provide a 2-meter distance between registration desks.

2.7. Call voters for using their own writing implements in the polling station. If the voter does not have such an option, issue a pen intended only for the respective voter.

2.8. When arranging seats for election observers, provide a 2-meter distance between the observer seats.

2.9. Regulate voter flow, prevent crowding and the presence of unauthorised persons at the polling station:

2.9.1. follow that voters, while waiting for registration, keep the 2-metre distance between themselves and the surroundings;

2.9.2. on the floor of the polling station premises or otherwise mark a distance of 2 metres to be kept by voters while waiting in line for registration;

2.9.3. place instructions in the polling station premises indicating the direction of the flow of voters;

2.9.4. if more voters have arrived at the polling station than it is acceptable taking into account the possibility to keep the distance of 2 metres in the premises, the voter’s line shall be formed outside the premises of the polling station, near the building where the polling station is located.

2.10. To invite more vulnerable voters’ groups (voters over the age of 65, voters with health problems) to vote in hours when there are not many visitors at polling stations.

2.11. When registering voters in the polling station, mark the time of the voter's arrival on the voter list.

2.12. Avoid the use of fabric materials in the equipment of polling booths. Place the screens and polling booths without curtain in such a way that the secrecy of the vote is ensured, for example by locating the entrance or open part against a wall or against the closed part of an adjacent booth.

2.13. Place a wastebasket in each polling booth or compartment. Place an additional container for discarding face masks at the exit of polling station.

(As amended by the Decision No 32 of 13 August 2020)

2.14. Ventilate polling station premises as often as possible.

2.15. During the work of the polling station, regularly clean high-touch surfaces – doorknobs, tabletops, chair armrests, surfaces at toilets, etc. with the use of disinfectants (e.g. 70% ethanol, 0.5% sodium hypochlorite). Carry out сleaning with disinfection also after the polling station has finished its work.

3. Members of polling stations commissions and employees

3.1. Avoid the presence of members of the polling station commission and employees subject to conditions of self-isolation, quarantine or strict isolation. Before commencing work at the polling station, each member of the electoral commission and the employee shall sign a statement that he or she is not subject to the above conditions and has no symptoms of respiratory infection.

3.2. Preventing people with symptoms of respiratory infection from participating in organisation of elections at polling stations or home voting.

3.3. The Riga City Election Commission is urged:

3.3.1. when forming polling station commissions, to provide at least three reserve employees for each polling station – performers of the duties of members of the polling station commission (hereinafter – reservists);

3.3.2. to prepare a plan for the reporting and immediate involvement of reservists in the ensuring of electoral process, if, on early voting days or on the election day, members or employees of the polling station commission may not be present at the workplace due to sickness;

3.3.3. to provide the training of reservists.

3.4. During the work of the polling station, to provide members and employees of the polling station commission with personal protective equipment:

3.4.1. (deleted by amendments made by the Decision No 32 of 13 August 2020)

3.4.2. face masks;

3.4.3. plastic face protection shields;

3.4.4. alcohol-based handrubs.

3.5. In addition, provide the members of the polling station commission and the employees involved in the counting of votes with disposable coats (long-sleeved) and rubber gloves.

3.6. Minimise the number of surfaces and objects for shared use in the polling station, ensuring that the same employees use surfaces and objects (e.g. desks, touch screens, computers, keyboards, computer mice, paper, etc.) as far as possible.

3.7. During the work of the polling station, perform regular desinfection of work surfaces, touch screens, computer keyboards and computer mice using alcohol-based disinfectants. Carry out cleaning of these equipment also after the polling station has finished its work.

(As amended by the Decision No 32 of 13 August 2020)

3.8. Organise catering for members of the polling station commission and employees in agreement with the catering service provider regarding the receipt of individual portions in closed disposable containers. Keep a 2 meters distance from the others during meals.

4. Voting outside polling station

4.1. When receiving applications from voters to organise voting at the voter’s place of residence, note whether or not the voter is in self-isolation because of Covid-19 infection or the risks of infection.

4.2. Take special precautionary measures when going to the voters:

4.2.1. when arriving at the voter's location, communicate with the voter by telephone, explain the voting procedure;

4.2.2. ascertain, on the basis of a personal identification document, whether the person is a voter;

4.2.3. place election materials (an individual form in which the voter signs regarding the receipt of election materials, a sealed ballot envelope, a set of ballot papers) in an easily accessible place for the voter (for example, at the door of the apartment);

4.2.4. when the voter has taken election materials, place a ballot box outside the door of the voter's residence;

4.2.5. when the voter fills out the election materials, the voter is asked to present the signed individual form. A voter throws election materials and an individual form into the ballot box. A member of the polling station commission notes on the voters' list for voting at the voter's location that the voter voted and signed the voters’ list form.

4.3. When organising a voting at voters’ place of residence, always keep 2 meters distance, sanitize your hands with alcohol-based handrubs regularly (before and after arrival and during the stay, if necessary), avoid touching surfaces touched by the voter.

(As amended by the Decision No 32 of 13 August 2020)

4.4. If for ensuring voting it is necessary to enter a voter’s place of residence, use a face mask and rubber gloves.

(As amended by the Decision No 32 of 13 August 2020)

4.5. Ensure voting in hospitals and social care institutions in cooperation with the management of the institution and in compliance with the quarantine restrictions and health measures imposed by the institution.