Counties spend thousands of dollars to prepare for election during COVID-19

Election officials in Alabama taking precautions to ensure voter safety during pandemic

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - County officials in Alabama have spent thousands of dollars on equipment in preparation for the primary runoff election Tuesday.

Polling locations will look different depending on the size and location. Several probate judges have bought masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.

Pike County Probate Judge Michael Bunn said they purchased alcohol solution to spray and clean the voting touchscreens that people will use. He also encouraged social distancing.

“Our workers are going to do what they can to provide some distancing markers for those people,” Bunn said.

Autauga County Probate Judge Kim Kervin said they purchased sneeze guards as a barrier between voters and poll workers.

“So we have three really small locations that we’re doing some additional things. We’re putting HEPA air filters in those locations,” she said. “We’re going to put tents outside of those three smaller locations and large fans to help with the heat.”

Some polling locations will provide voters with clean pens. They will then place them in buckets to be sanitized.

Voters will not be turned away from voting if they are not wearing a mask.

The Alabama Secretary of State’s office said “it is clear that state law does not allow for an individual’s qualification to vote to be contingent upon the wearing of a mask or face covering.”

However, officials are strongly encouraging people wear masks.

“I think that this runoff is going to be our test case for getting ready for general, which we all expect to be a little bit busier,” Bunn said.

Probate judges plan to use this election as a learning lesson for the next one several months down the road.

“And this is new territory for us. It’s new territory for the poll workers,” Kervin said. “Please be patient with us on Election Day.”

The Alabama secretary of state said the CARES Act money from the federal government will reimburse counties for the PPE.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.