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Health Department urges everyone to continue COVID safety precautions at polls

Posted at 9:01 AM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 10:01:38-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Election day is just around the corner but COVID numbers in the state are on the rise. The Douglas County Health Department is urging everyone to vote, but to do so safely. They are encouraging people to continue following COVID safety precautions while at the polls.

"I think a good rule of thumb is to follow the same rules you’d be doing if you’re going to the grocery store. Maintain separation like that, wear a mask, clean your hands when we get done with stuff," Phil Rooney, resource specialist at the Douglas County Health Department says.

While early in-person voting has been quite crowded and difficult to maintain distance, Election Commissioner Brian Kruse says polling locations on November 3 shouldn't be as crowded.

"We’re expecting about 70% of people to vote early so that only leaves about 30% which is about 78,000 folks we predict to vote on election day, spread out over 203 polling places around the county. So the social distancing should be easier to obtain on election day," Kruse says.

Polling locations will also have new pens for everybody, as well as masks, hand sanitizer and wipes available.

If you do have COVID or are experiencing symptoms, Kruse asks not to come to the polls. Instead, you can have someone pick up your ballot for you.

"They can have a friend or a family member come to our office, even through election day up to 7 pm and that friend or family member can get a ballot for them. They can act as an agent for them and so you can get up to 2 ballot besides your own and those ballots just have to be back in our possession by 8 pm on election night," Kruse says.

If someone picks up a ballot for you, they can not fill it out on your behalf. You will have to fill it out and sign it. If you have a mail in ballot you have yet to return, Kruse reminds everyone to do so.