Pandemic precautions at the polls - FOX34 Lubbock

Pandemic precautions at the polls

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Early voting for run-off elections begins on Monday, June 29th and despite the risk they face, dedicated workers are gearing up for voters to head back to the polls. 

This comes after the elections were pushed back due to the pandemic. 

"We don't want a pandemic or anything else stand in the way of being able to have that right to vote," Lubbock County Elections Administrator Dorothy Kennedy said.

150 workers are now learning new safety protocols to be used at polling sites across the county. From a health checklist provided by the state, to contact-less steps like using cardboard boxes and pencils as make-shift styluses.

Masks and gloves are also highly recommended. 

"You won't be turned away if you're not wearing a mask, but we strongly encourage you to wear a mask because the folks that are working the polls are in our high-risk category, the majority of them, we want to keep them safe, because they're family and we love them," Kennedy said.

"I'm wearing a mask to protect them and I'd like them to wear a mask to protect me," Keith Hewett said. 

Hewett, a veteran election worker, did considered the risk of returning.

"I feel like I'm in good health and I'm not worried about that. As long as I wear a mask, and we have a shield that we can also wear, I feel like I'm protecting myself, as well as the voter," he said. 

If you happen to be sick or are injured, and you can't go into the polling location, there is an option it's called "Curbside Accessible Voting"  where the elections workers can actually bring you the materials needed to cast your ballot. 

"Curbside voting has been around for many, many years," Kennedy explained. "But it's little known, now because of COVID-19 the secretary of state has asked all counties to exercise that more," she said.

During early voting this service will be available on 13th street outside the elections office.

On Election Day it will be at every location. 

Run-offs are notorious for lack of voter turnout, but elections officials will use this time to prepare for the upcoming presidential election. 

"To get ready to see what we need to do to improve or modify, protocols and changes as our health officials tell us, before we hit the big time, numbers we will see in October and November," Kennedy said.

Voters are encouraged to take advantage of early voting to avoid long lines or crowded locations. 

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