October 1, 2020 2:15 PM
Office of the Dean of Students

September 30, 2020

Dear Obie Community,

Each November, the College is privileged to host a polling location for the Lorain County Board of Elections. We view this as a public service consistent with our support of the democratic process and every citizen’s right to vote.

The pandemic is changing voting behavior across the country, as more citizens than ever are requesting mail-in ballots and plan to bypass their trip to the polls this November. Even though in-person turnout is expected to decrease this election, the College is meeting its responsibility to host a polling location this year.

To meet our community obligations while protecting students, faculty, and staff from exposure to COVID-19, the College and the Board of Elections worked together to make the following changes this year:

·        The Board of Elections will provide polls workers with appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves and face shields to safeguard them during interactions with the voting public. Under Board of Election policies and consistent with the College policy, all poll workers will be required to wear masks while on campus.

  •  The polls will be moved from Philips Gymnasium to the larger Heisman Field House to enhance physical distancing and reduce opportunities for exposure.
  • Similarly, COVID-19 testing for Oberlin students, faculty, and staff planned for Nov. 3 at the Williams Field House is being rescheduled.
  • The Board will provide hand sanitizer to all voters who enter the Heisman Field House.
  • All voters will be urged to wear masks while on campus and casting ballots.
  • Those campaigning outside the polls will be restricted to a specific location at the end of the parking lot by the Heisman Field House and will be asked to wear masks.
  • Campus Safety will direct traffic to minimize impacts on campus and facilitate vehicle flow exiting campus. Voters will be expected to depart campus immediately after voting.
  • The Board of Elections will sanitize the polling location during Election Day.
  • The Heisman Field House will be locked after the polls close and remain that way until the Board of Elections picks up its machines. Then Oberlin Facilities Operations/Environmental Health and Safety will sanitize the facility.

We recognize that hosting a polling location on campus temporarily increases the risk of exposure to our students, faculty, and staff. But we also appreciate the role the College plays in democratic and community engagement. Taking the steps listed above allows us to reduce risk and fulfill our responsibilities to the Oberlin community.

Thank you.