Villages make COVID-19 plans for April 7 election
Voters who show up in person to cast ballots in the Tuesday, April 7, spring election will follow procedures meant to protect both them and election workers from infection from the coronavirus (COVID-19), according to a survey of local clerks and administrators.
Marathon City administrator Andy Kurtz said his village plans to take care to provide electors with a safe place to vote.
“We are implementing as much as we can to make us as safe as we can,” he said.
Kurtz said he has requested Cintas, Stevens Point, a professional cleaning firm, to sanitize the village’s community room where voting occurs both before and after the election.
He said voters will register in the village board room and then proceed two or three at a time to cast ballots in the community room. Poll workers will do their jobs, said Kurtz, behind Plexiglass barriers meant to minimize spread of any illness. Workers will be provided with personal protection equipment. Social distancing will be observed.
Kurtz said the village as of Tuesday had received 220 absentee ballots. He thought another 200 to 300 people might show up for the April 7 election in person. Kurtz said it will likely take his workers about six hours to tabulate absentee ballots after the polls close. He predicted tardy vote total announcements across the state on April 7. In Edgar, administrator Jennifer Lopez said the village’s normal cleaning person will disinfect the village’s large room prior to the spring election.
The administrator said she has “strongly encouraged” older members of her poll worker crew not to participate in the April 7 vote. Six out of 10 have dropped out, she said. They have been replaced with younger people, including a college student.
She said the village will not erect Plexiglass barriers but will have plenty of hand sanitizer available.
Village of Athens clerk Lisa Czech said one person at a time will be allowed to vote in the village board room in the spring election.
Other voting procedures have yet to be finalized. “We are still making logistical decisions,” she said.
Czech said most of her regular poll workers will work the April 7 election. “They are not overly elderly,” she said.
Village of Stratford clerk Terri Wiersma said electors will be given sanitized pens to use when they sign poll books and voters with any illness will be asked to wear a mask.
She said election workers will work wearing masks (sewn by Carol Ballerstein) and be behind Plexiglass barricades created by Dale Heil.
She said three older poll workers have asked to skip the April 7 election.
Wiersma said hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap will be made available to voters.