PUBLIC HEALTH STILL TOP PRIORITY
Public health is a top priority for elections officials in Sacramento County this election season amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"Presidential elections are challenging enough, let alone during a pandemic," said Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Courtney Bailey-Kanelos. "The number one concern for us is the safety of our voters and our staff."
The county gave KCRA 3 an exclusive look at what voters casting their ballots in-person can expect at voting centers later this month. People will wait in line outside, spaced apart by line stanchions and social distancing markers. Upon entry into the voting center, voters will be addressed by an election officer behind a plastic barrier and offered an individually wrapped face mask and gloves. Child-size face masks will also be available.
"We also have bottles and stations for hand sanitizer throughout the voting area," Bailey-Kanelos said. "There will also be face shields for those who want it."
Voting booths and machinery will be sprayed down and cleaned before and after each use.
"It is absolutely safe to vote in person in Sacramento County," Bailey-Kanelos said.
The changes come at a time when 68% of surveyed Americans said they are concerned about contracting COVID-19 if they vote in person, according to a new study this week by Healthline Media.
"[People] are worried about the spread of the illness, the disease and they want to protect themselves," Healthline Communications Vice President Steve Swasey said. "If people go to the polls, they should wear a mask, keep 6 feet from people, carry hand sanitizer and get a flu shot soon."
Elections officials encourage voters to get their votes in as soon as possible. Given the historic nature of this year's election, lines at voting centers are expected to be long.
The Sacramento County Elections Office is already seeing strong early returns. Since mail-in ballots were sent out this week, 2,000 ballots have been cast in the county.