Heading to the polls in age of COVID-19: Elections Supervisor tells voters what to expect

An employee at the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Lynne Sladky, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – From one-time use pens to limited discussions while inside, Broward County’s polling locations will have COVID-19 protocols in place for those heading out to vote early in South Florida.

Early voting starts at 7 a.m. Monday, Oct. 19 and continues through Sunday, Nov. 1.

The county’s Supervisor of Elections issued a checklist in the form of a handout of what voters should do before they head to the polls and what they can expect while they are there.

COVID-19 protocols will be in place, such as Broward County’s ordinance requiring a face covering in all public places. The handout stated that voters should bring a mask with them and wear it at all times, but if they don’t have a mask or forget one, each polling location will have masks available upon request.

Similar precautions are being taken at polling locations in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, as well.

Voter check in will be contact free and voting privacy booths will be properly distanced. They will also be cleaned “throughout the day,” according to the health protection handout.

See Video: The In-Person Voting Experience

Limited discussion inside the polling location is also advised to “help protect your fellow voters and poll workers.” And, the SOE suggests “avoid touching your mouth or face inside the polling location to help maintain sanitation during the voting process.”

Voters will be given plastic-encased, one-time use pens that they can take with them after voting. Hand sanitizer will be provided to all voters entering the polling location.

As far as actual preparation to vote, the SOE suggests that you confirm your address and other voting information before arriving by calling (954) 357-7050 or by visiting www.browardsoe.org.

You should also study a sample ballot and you may bring a sample ballot into the voting area to “help you cast your ballot quickly.”

With the extra concerns about COVID-19, the goal is to get voters in and out quickly and “reduce time within the polling location,” according to the SOE.

Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections is Peter Antonacci.

VOTE 2020

BE ELECTION READY: Complete Vote 2020 resource guide.

>Find your early voting polling location in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

>Where can you drop off your mail-in ballot?

>Who’s running for office in Florida?

>Confused about those amendments? We have the answers.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.