City uses new precautions to make sure polling locations are safe

Published: Apr. 7, 2020 at 4:48 PM CDT
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Tuesday, voters made their way to the polls to have their voices heard for the 2020 spring election.

But amid the COVID-19 pandemic, polling locations took additional measures to keep people safe.

"We worked with the health department, central command, fire department to create safety measures at all of our polling sites here in the city and the county,” said Eau Claire City Clerk, Carrie Riepl.

Riepl, says the top priority was to make sure voters and poll workers felt safe.

"We have sneeze guards for registration and poll book tables, those are just a clear barrier to try and protect the voters and the poll workers,” she said. “We're doing social distancing, we have tape on the floor every six feet having people stop."

She also says they are modifying the way things are done when voters walk in the door.

"Voters are coming in, they're using hand sanitizer, they're getting a pen which they will then use throughout the entire process,” Riepl said. “They can take that pen with them or return it to an area where it is sanitized before anyone else would use it again."

Although there was some uncertainty on whether in person voting would occur on Tuesday, Riepl says they planned all along like nothing was going to change.

"We have been preparing all along as if the election was going to proceed, we never stopped those preparations,” she said. “The extra planning for the precautions probably started two to three weeks with this team."

And poll workers say they felt safe being at the polling locations.

"I believe that the city has done a good job today of keeping people spaced out and safe,” said poll worker Jered Shaw. “They have masks, they have gloves provided for us. I feel very comfortable working here today."

"They are comfortable with the procedures that have been put into place and so feel safe,” Riepl said. “I believe it is working effectively."

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