Here’s what’s happening at the polls to protect voters from COVID-19

Your Local Election HQ

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — When you show up to vote on Election Day, you’ll notice quite a few changes at Virginia polling places.

For starters, the number of people inside each building will be limited.

“We can’t have more than 10 people at a time inside of the actual precinct,” said Hattie Lattimore, precinct chief at the Major Hillard Library Precinct in Chesapeake.

Chesapeake General Registrar Mary Lynn Pinkerman told 10 On Your Side election officials are following CDC recommendations for polling places including social distancing for which they have marked the floors and extra cleaning.

“Each time a person leaves a booth, we have someone that’s cleaning it.” Lattimore said.

The Virginia Department of Elections has provided personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for each precinct including:

  • Disinfectant antibacterial wipes
  • Sanitary protective gloves
  • Surgical masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Isopropyl alcohol screen wipes
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Sanitary headset covers to be used with ADA compliant voting equipment
  • Instructions on how to disinfect consistent with CDC guidelines, voting system manufacturer recommendations, and health care professional best practices
  • Precinct sign displaying protective efforts

Poll workers are required to wear masks and voters are strongly encouraged to wear them as well. However, voters cannot be turned away from the polls nor will they be fined for not wearing a face covering, despite Gov. Ralph Northam’s new law authorizing a civil fine for violators of the mask mandate.

“The message though is that we’re wearing masks to protect other people and I would ask anybody who comes to the polls, if they are able to wear a mask, to please do that,” Northam said.

If you show up without a mask, you will be offered one as well as the option to vote curbside.


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