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Hillsborough elections supervisor: protecting polling places ‘primary’ concern

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — While coronavirus continues to cancel public events by the dozens, one big event is still set for Tuesday: Florida’s presidential primary.

Hillsborough County’s Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer says early voting numbers are up this year compared to 2016, a statistic some may find surprisingly amid virus concerns.

Less surprisingly, voting by mail numbers are also up, but Latimer isn’t prepared to say yet if that’s connected to coronavirus.

Latimer tells 8 On Your Side his office is taking a number of steps to protect voters.

Sanitizer and wipes are widely available at every polling place with poll workers instructed to wipe down equipment frequently.

Two “pop-up” precincts are ready to be deployed on Tuesday if needed. More than 50 additional staffers are being trained as poll workers, ready to be reassigned if needed on Election Day.

“People are going to come out on election day,” Latimer said. “We’re going to make sure they feel good about this.”

Poll workers are encouraged to not come in if they don’t feel well. Voters feeling under the weather have options as well.

“Over-the-counter” vote by mail ballots can be picked up at one of the county’s four elections offices and then be returned “curbside” at the Elections Service Center on Election Day.

You can even designate someone to do it for you, via this affidavit.

“We certainly want people confident that they’re in a healthy environment when they come in to vote,” Latimer added.

So far, Latimer says only two poll workers have excused themselves from Election Day, not wanting to risk the exposure to crowds.

Four polling places in Hillsborough have been reassigned because they were previously at nursing homes or assisted living facilities that are now locked down, per state mandate. You can find your polling place here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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