By PIERCE LAWSON
As 2020 rages on, so does the election cycle. With a record voter turnout nation-wide, poll workers are faced with a major issue; how to continue with normal voting practices while maintaining safety during the pandemic.
As I discovered, polling places are providing everything necessary to encourage people to come out and vote, while maintaining an environment that allows people to feel safe. Mask measures are in effect at most polling places and efforts have been put in place to minimize contact while maintaining efficiency.
Because mask-wearing is mandated in most public buildings city-wide, when I went to vote, I was not surprised to see masks were required inside the polling place. Voters who entered the building without a mask were promptly asked to grab one from the box sitting on the counter.
Signs on the door clearly read, “no firearms” and “masks required.”
Behind the double doors, I could see two police officers standing at full attention and, as I walked in, I was faced with a line of people – all socially distanced. When I approached the poll worker sitting behind a plexiglass window, I was asked for my ID and given a cotton swab. “This is your super high-tech voting tool,” I was told as I was directed to the nearest polling station.
Although voters are encouraged to bring their own “touch-tool,” polling places will offer a cheaper, disposable alternative.
On my way out, I asked one voter about their thoughts on the social distancing measures. “I think they’re doing everything they can,” she said. “There’s only so much you can do, processing hundreds of people a day especially in a climate like this.”
Another voter described the safety precautions as excessive. “I feel that the measures are a bit over the top. You’d think they were processing DNA in here,” they said.
In this election cycle, not only do Americans feel divided over several long-standing issues but also over COVID safety measures and whether these protocols are keeping people safe or infringing on our civil liberties.
One thing is clear; Americans are going to the polls despite the pandemic and poll workers are doing everything they can to ensure all eligible voters can cast their ballots without concern.