How 4 Big States Are Preparing to Vote as the Coronavirus Spreads
“In fact, as of early this afternoon, we’ve had 582 Ohioans sign up to be poll workers just since Tuesday,” said Jon Keeling, the communications director for Mr. LaRose. “We’ve been thrilled with how many have stepped up.”
Two of the largest voting jurisdictions in Illinois, Cook County and Chicago, obtained a court order on Thursday that will allow the counties to issue vote-by-mail ballots to all nursing home residents in their jurisdictions. The order also removes the requirement to send election judges into nursing homes to conduct voting.
“Nursing homes around the state are withdrawing as polling places, so local election authorities are relocating polling places and sending out statutorily required notifications to affected voters,” said Matt Dietrich, a spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections. He said that included more than 100 locations in the Chicago area.
In Florida, which has also declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has urged county elections supervisors to move polling places out of assisted living facilities.
“That’s problematic,” he told reporters on Wednesday in Tallahassee, the state capital, adding that residents should still be able to vote there, but not the general public.
“I think there’s a way to do that,” he said. “That’s a prudent step to take.”
The state has temporarily restricted visits to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family-care homes, long-term care facilities and adult group homes to keep out international and cruise ship travelers and other people who might have been exposed to the coronavirus.
In Broward County, where a small cluster of coronavirus cases has been tied to the Port Everglades seaport, the elections department plans to move six polling places out of assisted living facilities. Those locations asked for the change, but not all senior facilities have, in part because they want residents to have the convenience of voting there, said Steve Vancore, a spokesman for Supervisor Peter Antonacci.