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Elections may be very tactile. Touchscreen voting machines, paper ballots, giant crowds.
With concern rising concerning the unfold of the coronavirus, officers in a variety of Tremendous Tuesday states are taking additional precautions to guarantee voters that it is secure to go to the polls. Hundreds of thousands of persons are anticipated to forged ballots tomorrow in 14 states, together with some the place instances of the illness have already emerged.
John Gardner, the assistant registrar of voters in Solano County, Calif. — the place two well being care employees examined constructive for COVID-19 — says they’ve added an additional curbside location the place individuals can drop off their accomplished ballots, “so voters do not must get out of their vehicles if they do not wish to.”
Gardner says they’ve additionally despatched out extra provides of disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and gloves to each polling website within the county. Nonetheless, he is seen no indication that the virus is discouraging both voters or pollworkers.
“We’ve not acquired very many calls from voters, or phrase of pollworkers declining to point out up,” he says. “That is signal.”
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla stated in an announcement that his workplace is following public well being alerts however that “proper now there aren’t any indications of any disruptions to California’s March 3, 2020 Presidential Main.” Padilla famous that 75% of the state’s voters have acquired absentee ballots, which may be returned by mail or at drop-off areas.
All through the nation, election officers say they’re monitoring the state of affairs intently and are prepared to reply if needed. However to date, they seem to have made solely minimal changes.
In Falls Church, Va., elections director Dave Bjerke says they at all times have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes obtainable at polling websites, however his workplace double-checked to ensure there can be sufficient provides for Tuesday’s main. He additionally reminded election employees to continuously wipe down surfaces which are touched by voters, who can be sharing pens and cubicles to mark their paper ballots.
Like different election officers, Bjerke is pretty assured that turnout is not going to be affected. He says none of his pollworkers have stated they will not be displaying up, though he has heard that one county within the state had seen some pollworkers drop out as a result of they’re apprehensive concerning the unfold of germs.
Bjerke says that election officers must plan for every kind of emergencies, noting that the 9/11 terrorist assaults and a 2011 earthquake in Virginia each occurred on election days. “Now we have to be ready for all of it,” he says. “I inform voters in the event that they fear about these sorts of issues, there’s at all times absentee voting.”
However the Virginia Division of Elections suggested native election officers on Friday to maintain observe of attainable disruptions to mail supply because of the illness outbreak that might have an effect on the return of absentee ballots, and to find out if any lodging could be required. The company additionally informed election officers to evaluation their emergency plans. In any other case, the state says it is monitoring the state of affairs and sees no cause at the moment to alter election preparations.
Alabama election officers additionally say they don’t have any particular plans for tomorrow’s main, noting that there have been no instances of the illness reported to date within the state.
There additionally seems to be some concern concerning the danger of spreading the virus at political rallies, the place hundreds of individuals may be squeezed into one location. A handful of individuals wore face masks at a Bernie Sanders rally in San Jose over the weekend. His marketing campaign says it reached out to county well being officers upfront and had been suggested to have hand washing stations on website.
When requested whether or not it was secure to be holding political rallies through the present public well being disaster, President Trump — who will attend a rally together with his supporters Monday night time in Charlotte, N.C. — responded, “I feel it’s totally secure. Yeah. I feel it’s totally secure.”