Precautions at the polls: Steps to protect voters against H1-N1

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's an unusual sight to see...people using q-tips to cast their votes. It's all part of an effort to help keep voters germ frees on this Election Day. It's a sight that replayed itself at many polling precincts.

Voters were greeted with a hello and hand sanitizer. Max Williams used a disposable coffee stick stirrer so his fingers wouldn't make contact with the touch screen voting machine.

"I'd rather take the extra fraction of a second and be cautious as opposed to being nonchalant about it and ultimately getting something I don't want," said Williams.

The State Board of Elections sent out about 2300 bottles of hand sanitizer to localities across the state in hopes minimizing the spread of the H1-N1 virus at the polls.

"They're being gracious and accepting it. Some people are declining saying they used it in their car or they have some in their pocketbook," said poll worker Carolyn Jackson.

Other safety measures taken by many localities in their precincts include regular cleaning of common surfaces and arranging precincts to allow for more space between voting booths and voters in line.

"I think it's great because we have to be very careful with germs nowadays, especially with children and young people and those who are sick," said Verlestine Holmes.

Some voters we spoke with called all of the precautions "too much and unnecessary." Linda Cooke disagrees.

"Anything we can do to help prevent the spread of germs at this can't be too safe," Cooke said.

Simple steps, according to polling officials, to help keep you safe and healthy. The State Board of Elections was able to purchase and mail out all of those bottles of sanitizing gel thanks to a grant from the CDC.

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