Polling locations prepare for Election Day as pandemic continues

Posted at 2:57 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 18:51:28-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The excitement of Election Day is almost here! As the world watches in anticipation, many people are getting ready to cast their vote in person at polling locations around the country.

COVID-19 is forcing election officials across the nation to do things differently this year.

“The outset was more stressful, and we've been at it for a while, but it's also helped us get used to building up to Election Day,” said Walt Latham, the York County General Registrar.

Latham said stress levels have gone down since half the votes are already in and many votes have already been tabulated.

“We have a path and a plan for dealing with tomorrow and the days after, so I feel less stressed,” said Latham.

Poll locations are expected to be busy Tuesday.

The CDC said all voters have the right to vote regardless if they are sick or in quarantine.

They said the better prepared you are, the more you reduce your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.

They encourage everyone to wear a mask, to clean your hands often, and to keep six feet distance from others. They're also reminding people to bring things like registration forms and sample ballots.

Precautions are being taken at polling locations.

“We’re going to be putting tape on the floor to try to help with encouraging social distancing so people feel safe,” said Latham. He said they have hand sanitizer at all the polling places.

He said there are 22 election employees working at each polling location.

He said, “We are encouraging periodic and regular cleaning of the privacy booths. We have alcohol spray for that and other disinfectant spray, microfiber cloths, paper towels - things like that to help with sanitizing throughout the day.”

Latham said there is a lot of tension, excitement and anxiety. He encourages people to bring their patience and offered advice.

“Everyone needs to just calm down. We've done this for 200 years; it'll be fine,” said Latham. “Everyone needs to chill. Just chill out.”

Click here for more information from the CDC and other recommendations.