80ºF

‘We’re definitely voting:’ Florida prepares for primary amid coronavirus concerns

Voting will go on, Gov. DeSantis says; some polling locations changed

A woman votes in the presidential primary election at the the Summit View Church of the Nazarene Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. The polling place served two precincts as voters who were scheduled to vote at a nearby senior living facility were directed to vote at the church after the facility backed out due to coronavirus concerns. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
A woman votes in the presidential primary election at the the Summit View Church of the Nazarene Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. The polling place served two precincts as voters who were scheduled to vote at a nearby senior living facility were directed to vote at the church after the facility backed out due to coronavirus concerns. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Election officials are continuing to prepare for voters to take to the polls March 17 despite coronavirus concerns, according to a release from the Florida Department of State.

“We’re definitely voting, they voted during the civil war, we’re voting,” Gov Ron DeSantis said during a conference Friday.

Florida’s Presidential Primary is set to take place Tuesday and state leaders and health officials are working to ensure the safety of all voters. Voting will not be canceled or delayed because coronavirus concerns, officials said.

“Unlike concerts, sporting events or other mass gatherings where large groups of people travel long distances to congregate in a confined space for an extended period of time, polling locations see people from a nearby community coming into and out of the building for a short duration,” Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee said.

Officials also said they are working with voting machine manufacturers to determine the best ways to sanitize machines, and are providing polling locations with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on best practices for hand washing.

“Americans have participated in elections during challenging times in the past, and based on the best information we have from public health officials, we are confident that voters in our states can safely and securely cast their ballots in this election, and that otherwise healthy poll workers can and should carry out their patriotic duties on Tuesday,” Lee said.

However, to avoid the spread of COVID-19 some polling places in Central Florida have been moved.

Brevard County

Brevard County’s elections chief has moved two polling places for Tuesday’s presidential election out of assisted-living facilities because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.

These are the changes, announced late Thursday by Brevard County Supervisor of Elections Lori Scott:

  • For voters in Precincts 201 and 240, the Courtenay Springs Village polling place has been temporarily relocated to Kiwanis Island Park Gym, 950 Kiwanis Island Park Road, Merritt Island.
  • For voters in Precinct 509, Trinity Towers East polling place has been temporarily relocated to Front Street Civic Center, 2205 Front St., Melbourne.

In a statement, Scott said: "The safety of Brevard’s 437,905 voters and 1,350 poll-workers remain a top priority of mine. Although Brevard has not had a reported case of COVID-19, we will continue to be vigilant."

[CORONAVIRUS HEADLINES: Get the latest coronavirus news delivered to you.]

Scott said her office “will continue to take precautionary measures, including equipping all polling locations with hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. In addition, poll workers will be sanitizing surfaces every hour,” as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for registered Democrats and Republicans wanting to vote in their party’s presidential primary.

Volusia County

Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis also announced the following change to a polling location at an assisted living facility in DeLand:

  • For voters in Precinct 212, the Good Samaritan Society–Florida Lutheran polling place has been relocated to the Wayne G. Sanborn Activities Center, 815 S. Alabama Avenue, DeLand.

Lewis said the change was put in place to limit the number of people visiting the facility for the safety of those who live there.

“This is truly understandable and we are asking for voters’ compassion and support during this time. We are doing all in our power to prevent the spread of illness,” Lewis said.

Lewis said the Wayne G. Sanborn Activities Center will be set up as two separate precincts for the primary election. Voters should follow signs to their correct polling area.

According to a news release from Lewis’ office, voters can cast their ballot early or drop off their vote-by-mail ballots from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Saturday at any of the following locations:

  • DeLand – County Administration Building, 123 W. Indiana Ave.
  • Deltona – City Commission Chambers, 2345 Providence Blvd.
  • Ormond Beach – Ormond Beach Regional Library, 30 S. Beach St.
  • Daytona Beach – Daytona Regional Library at City Hall, 105 E. Magnolia Ave.
  • Port Orange – Port Orange Regional Library, 1005 City Center Circle
  • New Smyrna Beach – New Smyrna Beach Regional Library, 1001 S. Dixie Freeway

This story will be updated with more changes if and when they are announced.

Click here to follow all updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic.


About the Author: