DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — When you get to your polling place on Nov. 3, things are going to look a lot different than they have in the past.
Those measures are made to try to stop you from getting sick with COVID-19.
Desoto County has the third largest number of voters of any county in Mississippi with 120,000 registered voters.
Desoto County Elections Commission chairman Danny Klein showed us a mock-up polling place with plexiglass partitions shielding voters from poll workers. Extra Bailiffs will be at every polling place as well.
“One Bailiff will be in charge of the flow of the precinct as the workers try to keep no more than 20 people at a time in the precinct.” Klein said
You do not have to wear a mask to vote but poll workers will wear masks and face shields and gloves. We were there as the protective gear arrived in large pallets today from the state.
If you are sick or don’t want to go in to vote you can vote curbside on a secret ballot but be prepared to wait.
“They’re going to have to be patient because we have to try to fit them in and if you are thinking about doing curbside voting, my recommendation is to go down to the courthouse and vote today,” Klein said.
That’s because voter turnout is expected to be as high as 75 percent and that could mean as many as ninety thousand people expected at the polls in Desoto county on Election Day.
One thing that will also be different at the polls, you will get a pen/stylus comb that is given to you. You sign in with the stylus on the electronic rollbuck and you do your voting with the pen.
Desoto County has some twenty thousand Stylus/Pen combos. We saw them at the election headquarters. We are told that the styluses will have to be sanitized between voters.
“We have hired a sanitizing person who will work all day from start to finish. And that individual’s responsibility is to wipe things down and sanitize the pens so when they go back out the door they drop the pen off at the door," Klein said.
The state is providing poll workers in Mississippi with protective gear but do not expect them to provide you with a mask to vote.
“We will have an extra mask but we won’t have a whole lot,” Klein said.
In a normal election year, poll managers go through about six days of training but this year the training has been spread out over about five weeks.
Klein said he has one goal following the election.
“Our goal is after the election, 14 days later we want everybody still healthy.”
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