Secretary Merrill provides Safe Polls Grants to towns to cover additional election costs related to COVID-19
All 169 towns have submitted Safe Polls Plans to become eligible for grants The state and towns are united in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic
HARTFORD – Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s Safe Polls program for 2020 provides towns the resources they need to ensure safe, secure, and accessible elections this year. We have received each of the 169 Connecticut towns’ Safe Polls Plans, enabling them to receive Safe Poll Grants to pay for their COVID-19-related election expenses.
“We are delighted to see every Connecticut town participate in the Safe Polls Plan program,” said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. “The grant will help pay for their additional costs related to COVID-19, and will ensure that every Connecticut voter can cast their ballot without risking their health.” The primary election is on August 11, 2020. Secretary Merrill released the 2020 election plan on May 4th: myvote.ct.gov/2020plan
Secretary Merrill created the Safe Polls program to protect the health of voters and poll workers alike. Along with making absentee ballots available to the largest number of voters possible, and protecting Connecticut’s elections from foreign interference and cyberattacks, the Safe Polls Plan is a key part of making sure that Connecticut’s 2020 elections are safe, secure, and accessible to all voters.
The plan requires all municipalities to submit a Safe Polls Plan for the primary and general elections in the 2020 cycle that includes a list of polling locations, staffing levels for each polling location, an identified list of poll workers and moderators ready to work on election day, list of cleaning and safety products required, and an emergency plan.
Municipalities that complete and have their plan approved will receive a Safe Polls Grant from the Office of the Secretary of the State, which will meet additional costs incurred because of COVID-19. These expenses could include personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizing products, and any additional necessary personnel. This is in addition to the package of PPE and cleaning supplies that the Office is sending to every polling place in the state. The 2020 election plan was developed with the CDC’s polling place guidance in mind.
The office is also launching a public information campaign that educates voters about the election plan, including the Safe Polls program, along with a campaign to recruit and train poll workers for the 2020 general election.
The Safe Polls program, and the election plan in general, will be paid for out of federal CARES Act funds specifically allocated for this purpose, so there will be no added cost to the state or to the towns.