ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Rochester residents planning to cast their ballots in person this Tuesday can anticipate some changes and additional safety precautions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Rochester said on Friday that a total of $250,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding has been allocated to support operations for the August Primary and the November general election.
The City said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the safest option to avoid person-to-person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic is voting by mail.
"While many voters are taking advantage of voting by mail using an absentee ballot, there also must be options for voters who need or choose to vote in person," the City said in a news release.
The City of Rochester said some of the safety measures include:
- Polling being evaluated and relocated to ensure space for physical distancing on election day. Voters should double check their polling location as about 1/3 locations in Rochester have moved.
- Providing instructions for each voting location to show how to ensure six feet of distance during the process.
- Using separate entrances and exits where possible to ensure one-way foot traffic
- Placing hand sanitizers at entrances and exits
- Requiring that face coverings be worn by election workers, voters and other visitors
- Making disposable masks available near the entrance for voters who don't have a face covering
- Providing election workers with face shields to wear over face coverings if desired
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly
- Offering voters a sanitized pen. Voters can also bring their own pen.
- Allowing the option for individuals to vote curbside and avoid entering the polling location. Voters experiencing symptoms and those who are unable to wear a face covering are asked to use curbside voting.
“The health and safety of our community has been and continues to be our top priority," City Clerk and Communications Director Anissa Hollingshead said in a news release. "Equally important is ensuring every eligible voter who wants to vote is able to cast a ballot in the manner that works best for them. Our community can be confident in our election process, including the steps being taken to keep our polling locations safe.”
Find more information on the Election Day COVID-19 Preparedness Plan here.