Voters and poll workers react to election safety measures

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Primary Day in Michigan looked a lot different with safety precautions to keep in-person voters safe at the polls in the midst of a global pandemic.

Even though many people voted absentee, plenty others decided to make their choice in person.

"It's really nice, the distance and everything with the cleaning supplies and everything so it was a good experience," said Susan Winkelmann.

At polling locations across the state, staff were equipped with PPE like gloves, face shields, and masks to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"Luckily it's been slow enough that it's easy to sanitize in between voters," said Delta Township Clerk Mary Clark.

Jane Waligorski voted in Lansing and said she felt safe with the steps they took.

"I've always voted in person when I can and I feel that you can get the real process of the representative democracy," said Waligorski.

Voters weren't required to wear masks but poll workers were feeling comfortable about the risk.

“So far everyone has been respecting of the guidelines that we’ve issued. So far we’ve had 100% face mask participation,” said poll worker Elvin Caldwell Jr.

Sanhaja Blunt signs up to work yearly with her mother and felt the same way.

"I don't feel like I'm putting myself at risk any more than I would be going to the store. I feel like it's the same kind of germs and as long as we take precautions I don't think anything is wrong," said Blunt.

But there were plenty other poll workers who weren't feeling so comfortable about the danger of COVID-19 at the polls and backed out of the job.

"We were working all weekend.We had 5 cancel on Sunday and 7 cancel yesterday. So it was juggle juggle juggle," said Clark.

Several workers also backed out in Lansing.

We've had at least 20 people cancel working for us this election, so it's been shuffling workers, getting some of our workers to go to a different location or step up into a leadership role that they weren't planning on," said Swope.

But even with less people the show did go across Mid-Michigan.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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