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What you need to know about curbside voting ahead of election day

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — Curbside voting has been around for a while but the COVID-19 pandemic has been put a spotlight on it.

It’s not a quick “drive-thru” process. It involves two election judges from the the different parties coming out to a voter's car and presenting them with paperwork. After the paperwork is filled out, the judges go back inside and present the voter with a ballot. Once the voter fills the ballot out, the judges go back inside and put the ballot into the tabulator.

After that, they go back out to the voter's vehicle with a sticker, confirming the process is complete. Depending on how busy a polling place is, prepare to wait because it could take a while.

"Contrary to the name, it isn't drive-thru voting," City of Rochester Interim City Clerk Kelly Geistler said. "It's still very time-intensive. Sometimes, it can take five minutes, or it could take 15 minutes, depending on how busy the poll is."

Geistler said they will have two judges waiting outside for those who want to vote curbside.

Voters may choose other ways to vote instead, like absentee or mail-in voting. There is also the standard option of voting in-person at the poll on election day.

Geistler also said there has been an overwhelming response of people who want to be election judges. She said they have 100 more than they need and had to turn applicants away.

She said it's amazing to see so many people who want to get involved in the election process.

She said election staff is ready to handle the election day amid the pandemic.

"This year, because of COVID, we will be providing extra levels of of PPE, training. We have extra closing and opening procedures that are all geared toward voter safety," Geistler said. "So a little bit extra because of COVID, but still within out scope."

For more information on voting, you can visit the City of Rochester website or the Olmsted County website.

Megan Zemple

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