Polling locations prepped with PPE for Election Day

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Board of Elections is prepping 406 in-person polling places across the state. All of them are following an extensive in-person voting COVID-19 response plan which lays out everything from PPE to cleaning to polling place layouts.

On Monday, lines wrapped around City Hall in Providence as the clock ticked down on early voting.

“It’s probably like a 20-25 minute line maybe?” voter David Powers said. “It’s about halfway around city hall.”

Voters braved the cold and windy weather, bundled up in scarves and hats on a mission to vote.

“It’s my right and I’m going to execute it!” voter Cheyenne Velazquez said. “I’m glad to see all these people out here… it’s cold!”

Most people in line said they weren’t worried about voting in-person because of the pandemic, but they did want to beat the crowds tomorrow.

“I think it’s time for a change and a drastic change,” voter William Robinson said. “So, I can brave the cold weather and the long lines to make my vote count.”

“That’s part of the reason I’m here early,” Powers said. “I just wanted to get it out of the way while there are not quite that many people. I know a lot of people did the mail ballots but I felt more confident if I put it in the machine.”

The Board of Elections says they’re expecting about 290,000 voters on Election Day. The state deployed about 4,600 masks for poll workers and 18,400 for voters. Polling places are set up with 460 boxes of gloves, 750 bottles of hand sanitizer and 1,844 face shields. There are almost 6,915 decals for social distancing marks and 2,305 social distancing signs.

Door control workers will monitor social distancing and make sure capacity remains below 66%. Polling places are also set up in a certain way to allow 6-feet between everyone inside. Voters will get an electronic stylus pen to cast their ballot that will be set aside and disinfected for the next person to use.

“You have to vote, you have to,” Velazquez said. “This is the vote of our lives, I don’t care what anybody says.”

The Board of Elections says they’ve worked hard to train Election Day poll workers and are ready for what Tuesday will bring.

Early voting across the state ends at 4:00 p.m. Monday afternoon.

To find your polling location or check your sample ballot, head to: vote.sos.ri.gov

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island