PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Election Day is just four days away and Southwestern Pa. continues to gear up for expected record turnout. This year it also includes safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, rigorous precautions will be in place to keep people safe. The department has sent boxes of supplies to counties to assist in safety procedures.
In a borough garage in Kittanning, preparations for Tuesday are underway.
“There’s never been an election like this before,” Armstrong County Director of Elections Marybeth Kuznik said.
She showed KDKA some of the PPE in place for this election that was sent to all counties by the department of state. Across the area, screens will be in place to separate voters and poll workers. Boxes of sanitizer, wipes, face shields and gloves were also sent.
Beaver County Commissioner Dan Camp applauded the work of the department to get PPE to poll workers. He expects around 60,000 people to hit the polls across the county.
Kuznik is asking people to wear face coverings.
“Please, please, please wear a mask. But if you can’t or don’t want to, you do have the right to vote,” Kuznik said.
Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is also urging voters to wear a mask, but says no voter will be turned away.
According to Kuznik, you may be asked to move to the side or away from other voters if you choose to not wear a mask. She said there is more PPE for this election than for the spring primaries.
Some safety measures have become routine eight months into the pandemic.
“We are instinctively staying 6 feet apart. We’re asking people to do just that here,” Kuznik said.
In a phone interview, Commissioner Camp compared it to going to the store. He said you need to take those types of precautions to keep yourself and others safe.
Kuznik says anyone coming out to vote should be able to feel safe with everything in place.
“I think it’s safe. Use common sense,” Kuznik told KDKA. “Be considerate of other voters. Be patient. That’s the main thing for people to do. Be patient.”
Judges of elections will pick up the PPE tomorrow and Monday. The screens were delivered when the voting machines were sent out.