SARASOTA, Fla. — After having around 60 poll workers drop out, Sarasota County has made the decision to consolidate and move some of its polling locations.
With more people reporting to fewer locations to vote, the supervisor of elections and voters are taking precautions to stay safe.
“We have lost a number of poll workers, as you can imagine, through this. For whatever reason, but probably COVID 19, that do not, or can’t work on Tuesday. We have to have a certain number of people to operate our equipment," explained Ron Turner, the Supervisor of Elections for Sarasota County.
At those locations, there will be wipes and hand sanitizers for poll workers.
“We’re just trying to keep this election going. We will have it Tuesday and have business as usual. But, we please ask the voters to be patient with us as we all go through this, as a county, a state, country, together," said Turner.
Some voters decided they didn’t want to wait until Tuesday and took advantage of early voting.
“Just because the way things are right now with the coronavirus and everything, you just never know what will happen from day to day,” said Robin Strauss as she left the early voting location.
Hillsborough County's turnout prior to election day is tracking higher than it was during the 2016 presidential primary. The county says it has mailed out more than 180,000 ballots, and more than 129,000 voters have already voted by mail or voted early.
“I wanted to avoid crowds at my normal polling place," said Nancy Von Lazar who came to vote early with hand sanitizer and gloves on her hands "I’m elderly, I am not a spring chicken, so that’s why I wanted to see if I could do that.”
Senior citizens are generally at a greater risk of having more serious symptoms of COVID-19.
Sarasota County has an older population than other parts of the country. In the 2012 general election, 42 percent of Sarasota voters were more than 66 years old
Voters are taking precautions. And, experts say good hygiene is still one of the best ways to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“Being in the big crowds and stuff makes me nervous. I know there’s a lot of older population here that votes. I don’t know if they’re predominantly the ones that early. It’s just sort of preventative for myself and for them to get this done as soon as possible," said 23-year-old Jeanie Ziven.
Polling place changes in Sarasota County impact several precincts and can be found by clicking here and choosing the "emergency polling place changes" option.
Hillsborough County's supervisor of elections says people who vote at certain locations have been reassigned. Click here for the latest polling place changes from Hillsborough County.
The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office says 250 poll workers have said they can no longer work the election amid COVID-19 concerns. Some are elderly, some have underlying medical issues and others are concerned about exposing family members.
Dustin Chase, Communications Director for the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, says voters need to be aware there will be inexperienced poll workers and the need to be patient. The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections has voiced concerns to the state via email.
Click here for the latest polling place information from Pinellas County.
Like Sarasota, Hillsborough will have hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes available at polling places.
"We have directed our poll workers and staff to wipe down equipment frequently, to wash their hands thoroughly and often, and to stay home if they’re sick," Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said.
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