I-TEAM: How Northeast Ohio counties are working to protect voters from COVID-19 at the polls

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has investigated and found what’s happening at polling places to protect you from COVID-19 on election day especially as the outbreak now rages at record levels.

In a Cuyahoga County Board of Elections warehouse, we saw long tables filled with collections of safety supplies going out to polling places. Boxes and boxes of masks and cleaning spray and more.

You can already see the sweeping new safety measures in place where early voting is happening. Plastic barriers, constant cleaning, orders to keep people apart and more.

Lorain County officials have also been stockpiling many of the same supplies. And, they also just got new signs from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. The signs will go up at polling places with information about COVID-19 and steps to help control the spread.

Lorain County Board of Elections Director Paul Adams said, “We’re going to be distributing $30,000 worth of plexiglass shields.”

He added, “We’re reinforcing all of these rules and regulations with the poll workers, so they understand all of the supplies that are being provided, how they’re being used.”

Tens of thousands of early voters have already passed through the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. The I-Team has been checking with health departments and officials around Northeast Ohio, and so far, those we’ve checked with have not had any cases of COVID-19 traced back to polling places.

Still, the COVID outbreak, of course is a big concern for voters. That has led many people to vote by mail or drop off ballots. One woman we saw doing that said, “I don’t want to be around a whole bunch of people.”

Even poll workers admit they’re nervous about COVID-19. Alec Rubin said, “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I gave it some thought, especially since I’m working with the public.”

Meantime, standing in the line of early voters, we found people trusting that counties are doing all they can to make voting safe.

One voter said, “It’s a concern, but it’s not gonna stop me from voting.” Another said, “Gotta do what you have to do to vote and get things done.”

Carrying out this election means giving voters a voice and keeping them healthy.

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