The Lawrence County Election Commission is preparing for both early voting and Election Day, and Commissioner Judy Verkler said they want residents to know polling sites will be safe.
Thanks to supplies provided by the state and the plan in place by the commission, Verkler said voters can feel comfortable voting in person.
“If you go to the grocery store, if you go to Walmart, if you go to church, if you go to the post office, then you should not be requesting an absentee ballot,” Verkler said. “We are taking care to protect not only the voters, but the pollworkers.”
Commissioners noted that many election officials are in their 70s and 80s.
“We are making these locations to where pollworkers and voters need not have any personal contact at all,” Verkler said.
Measures that will be in place include plexiglass screens at voter sign-in, facemasks and face shields provided for pollworkers, disposable stylus pens and gloves available for voters to use and a sanitizing station at the entrance.
“We are asking all voters to wear a mask when they vote,” Verkler said.
Commissioner Mike Bradley noted that the right to vote will not be denied to anyone, but the goal of the commission is to provide the safest experience for both election officials and voters.
There will be a limited supply of masks available if someone arrives at the polling site and wants a mask but does not have one.
Sites will be set up to provide for social distancing and will be sanitized prior to Election Day with an electrostatic disinfecting spray system that provides preventative protection for 30 days.
“These polling locations are going to be one of the most sanitized places you could go,” Verkler said.
Commissioners encourage voters to make sure their voices are still heard.
“When we have pollworkers in their 70s and 80s who are willing to put in a 10 to 14 hour day working the polls, there is no reason for the public to stay home,” Verkler said. “We are very proud of our pollworkers for stepping up the way they are. We are really impressed with their dedication.”
Additional early voting sites
Early voting is slated for Oct. 19 through Nov. 2 at the Lawrence County Courthouse in Walnut Ridge, with hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
In addition there will be three polling sites utilized for early voting on Saturdays during the early voting period. On these days, anyone in the county can vote at these locations.
On Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., early voting will be offered at the Imboden Assembly of God Church and the Lynn Community Center.
On Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., early voting will be offered at the Sedgwick Community Center.
The early voting sites will be sanitized and prepared just like the Election Day polling sites, according to Verkler.