This Tuesday, voters will head to the polls in our state to cast votes in the primary election.
Election officials have reported that it seems more voters than usual this year are taking advantage of early voting options, voters are still able to turn out to place their votes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virus has changed a lot on how we go about our daily lives, expect the same at the polls. Before you head to the polls, it is important to know where you can vote and the special measures that are in place to keep everyone healthy.
It is important to know that your voting location may be different than the one you’ve gone to in past elections
Tuesday, Aug. 4, Maricopa County will have 99 vote centers open from 6 a.m.- 7 p.m. Some Arizona counties will utilize voter centers. These locations are voting locations open on Election Day to registered voters and can cast a ballot at any of the locations. Voters can visit any vote center in their county to receive and cast their official ballot.
To find a location, voters throughout the state can locate a polling place through the Arizona Secretary of State’s new Voter Information Portal. If you have trouble locating a polling location, contact your County Recorder.
Maricopa County Elections Department spokesperson Megan Gilbertson said the elections department have organized polling to take place in larger facilities, like shopping malls and convention centers, that can serve more voters while still allowing for physical distancing between voters and poll workers.
Typically, traditional precinct voting locations are held in small conference rooms and libraries that would be considered less safe during the pandemic, she said.
This is the first time the county has conducted an all vote-center election, meaning voters can cast a ballot at any location and not only their assigned precinct. Because of this change, she encourages voters to review the list of vote centers before heading to the polls.
Voters can find their nearest vote center on the Maricopa County Elections Department website,locations.maricopa.vote, or by calling 602-506-1511. The website will also show wait times at each location in real-time.
Here’s what to expect
When voters arrive at the vote center, there will be markings on the floor every six feet to assist with distancing between themselves and poll workers.
The voter check-in stations, which typically in the past has had limited spacing, will have their own table separated by six feet.
Before handing them to voters, poll workers will disinfect black sharpies, which is the most effective marker to use on the ballots.
All poll workers will wear a face shield and gloves. One poll worker at each site will be assigned to sanitizing the vote center throughout the day.
Under the Help America Vote Act, election poll workers cannot deny someone the right to vote if they refuse to wear a mask at the vote center. However, election officials strongly encourage voters to wear a mask and will have masks and gloves available for all voters.
If a voter chooses not to wear a mask, poll workers will be instructed to immediately sanitize the area where that person voted.
“We do have safety protocols in place to make sure our poll workers and other voters are safe and have the right to vote,” she said.