Things to know about voting in Central Florida during the coronavirus pandemic

Poll workers are making sure everyone's voting experience is safe and secure

ORLANDO, Fla. – As Florida continues to report thousands of new coronavirus infections daily, Supervisor of Elections Offices in Central Florida are stepping up safety and sanitization protocols to protect people when they cast their ballots for the state’s primary elections.

On Monday, The Florida Department of Health reported 12,624 new positive coronavirus cases bringing the state’s overall total to 282,435 cases since the virus was first detected in March. Now about a month away from the state’s Aug. 18 primary, election officials are implementing new policies that voters will notice when they head to the polls.

Here are some of the coronavirus-related precautions Central Florida counties are implementing:

Osceola County

Voters in Osceola County can expect to see extra sanitization measures as they head to the polls. Workers have been trained on the enhanced protocols that are listed below.

  • All election workers will have their temperature taken and will be wearing face coverings.
  • Cleaning crews will sanitize locations before and after use.
  • A sanitizing station will be at the door of each location.
  • Social distancing will be encouraged.
  • Voters will sign in using a disposable cotton swab rather than a stylus.
  • Pens will be sanitized between uses.
  • Disposable paper secrecy sleeves will be used rather than the traditional secrecy folders.

Volusia County

People who plan to vote in Volusia County may notice a number of changes including election workers wearing personal protective gear and plexiglass separators. Voters will also be able to take home the very pen they cast their ballots with.

See a list of safety precautions below:

  • Check-in stations and voting booths will be placed 6 feet apart.
  • Each polling site will have a plexiglass shield between the voter and the election worker.
  • Election workers will have masks and/or face shields and be wearing gloves.
  • Voters will be provided pens to keep. These pens will be used by the voter for checking in and marking their ballots.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for both voters and election workers.
  • Election workers will use disinfectant spray and cloths to wipe down surfaces, voting booths and secrecy sleeves.

RELATED: How to check your voter registration status ahead of Florida primary election

Seminole County

Part of Seminole County’s preparations for the upcoming elections is making sure there are enough workers to man the polls. Supervisor of Elections Chris Anderson said they are fully staffed for the upcoming August 18 primary election but still organized a group of alternates to step in if a worker were to get sick or decide they did not want to participate at the last minute.

This is just part of the office’s strategy to still put on an election during the pandemic. Below are a few differences voters may notice.

  • Disposable styluses so voters won’t have to share during check-in.
  • Workers wearing personal protective equipment such as masks.
  • Sanitizing products for workers to utilize in enhanced cleaning efforts.
  • Increased cleaning and sanitation protocols.

Brevard County

The Supervisor of Elections Office in Brevard County has strict protocols in place that voters will need to be privy to when it comes to extra precautions surrounding COVID-19. They’re relying on voters to do their part to help poll workers do theirs.

Here are the new policies voters should know about:

  • Poll workers will be provided with a face shield and a mask - one or the other is mandatory.
  • Hand sanitizer will also be available for use by poll workers.
  • Each polling location will have Sanitizing Specialists, whose primary responsibility will be to sanitize the polling location.
  • Voters will leave a “Needs to be Cleaned” card in the voting booth after they have voted to indicate the booth is ready to be cleaned by the Sanitizing Specialist.
  • Items such as pens and ballot secrecy sleeves will not be reused between voters.
  • Automatic dispensing hand sanitizers will be at each polling location for voters.
  • We are encouraging our high-risk voting population to request a mail ballot so they can vote in the comfort and convenience of their home.
  • Within the 150-foot no-solicitation zone, voters will be asked to social distance.

Lake County

Lake County election officials are hard at work making sure poll workers and voters are kept safe. A spokesperson with the Supervisor of Elections Office says their new protocols will be apparent during early voting which runs August 6 through August 15.

“All equipment will be sanitized throughout the day and election workers will be wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment,” a news release said.

As more Central Florida counties share Election Day coronavirus safety precautions this story will be updated.

About the Author: