Madison County election officials make effort to keep voters healthy at the polls

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – The Republican Senate primary runoff election is less than two weeks away. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Madison County, election officials said they’re rolling out all the stops to keep everyone safe.

The threat of COVID-19 will make voting in the upcoming elections a much different experience for voters. The main concern for some voters – being confined in a polling place in the midst of strangers. But Madison County Probate Judge Frank Barger said his team went through special training to to help keep voters safe.

“We’ve instructed all of our election workers to ensure that all voting booths are positioned six feet apart, that there are not more than a certain number of chairs at a table where voters will sit down,” Barger explained. “Only one voter at a check in point at a time.”

He said voters need to take personal responsibility as well by wearing a mask when they show up to cast a ballot.

The county has more than 25,000 masks just for election day, so polling places will have some to hand out to voters who don’t have one.

The probate judge said he’s also concerned for the nearly 700 poll workers in Madison County. He said a large number of them are at higher risk for COVID-19.

“Majority of our workers are retired, they’re older individuals, but their very dedicated to this process, this process is important. Many of them have served for many years,” said Barger.

According to Barger, the county also purchased masks, face shields and gloves for poll workers, who will be strictly enforcing social distancing. That could mean longer lines. But Barger said he doesn’t expect extreme delays.

“Keep in mind, there are so few items on this ballot, it will be a quick ballot for a voter to complete,” he explained. “We will maintain that 6 feet of social, physical distancing. So there could be a slight wait to get in and out of the polling location.”

The county has purchased more than 150 gallons of hand sanitizer and is also asking that voters bring their own pens or pencils to mark their ballots.

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