Staying safe at the polls

Law enforcement preps ahead of election day

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Many are anticipating long lines at the polls on Election Day, and voters may need to pack more than just their patience.

As we all know, we are still in the midst of a pandemic, so not only will you need to bring the normal items like a valid photo I.D., but you may also want to consider bringing some PPE.

We’ve all been hearing about those dreaded lines at the polls as voters participate in absentee voting, but Jefferson County election officials said it won’t be as big of a headache come November 3rd.

“That’s absentee voting,” said Chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Registrars, Barry Stephenson.

“You have to fill out an application, you have to put the ballots in certain envelopes, you have to seal the envelops. That’s a cumbersome process. That’s not going to be the situation tomorrow,” Stephenson said.

He anticipates the lines will move much faster, especially since you no longer have to line up by last name.

“You get in line; you check in through the iPad now. We have poll books at every precinct. Once you’re checked in, you get your ballot, you can vote, you put it in the machine, and you leave. So, it’s going to be a much, much quicker and efficient process than what we’ve seen down here at the courthouse with the early absentee voting,” Stephenson explained.

And don’t forget we’re still dealing with a pandemic. The Jefferson County Department of Public Health encourages voters to be mindful of the risks.

“Make sure that you have all of the things you need to be able to go to vote safely,” said Director of Infectious Diseases for the Jefferson County Department of Public Health, Dr. Wesley Willeford. “That includes hand sanitizer, make sure that you have a good facial covering, make sure that you bring your own pen, and depending on how some of the lines may shake out, you may even want to have a snack or some water on hand just in case it’s going to be a little longer than expected.”

Stephenson said the county, at its own cost, is disinfecting and sanitizing every precinct that we’re using tomorrow.

PPE will also be available, and poll workers will be required to wear face coverings.

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