With Election Day right around the corner, voters may be wondering how the in-person voting process will work this year amid the pandemic.
Across Connecticut, local registrars of voters are charged with taking steps to make in-person voting a seamless and safe process.
According to Dr. Deidre Gifford, acting commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, the busiest time at the polls is first thing in the morning and at the end of the day.
“So if you can, plan to come midday when there will be fewer people queuing up to vote,” Gifford said at a news conference Tuesday.
Even though the deadline to register prior to the election passed Oct. 27, voters still have the chance to register and cast their ballots on Election Day. In-person voting will take place Nov. 3 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at voters’ closest polling places.
For information on the candidates and their stances check out our online voter guide at www.Myrecordjournal.com/Elections.
Meriden’s City Clerk has already received thousands of absentee ballots for the presidential election, so Maureen Flynn, Democratic registrar of voters, is unsure how that will affect the polls on Election Day.
“Every presidential election has more people voting than any other election,” Flynn said. “... However since the City Clerk has about 8,000 absentee ballots those people will not be going to the polls. Will that be enough to keep the numbers at the polls down? Don’t know.”
Hand sanitizer and extra masks will be provided. Poll workers will wipe down all equipment and tape will be used to mark proper six foot social distancing guidelines.
“Moderators will be in charge of when to clean, but it will be done frequently,” Flynn said. “More so if large crowds arrive.”
None of the Meriden polling places will be different due to the pandemic.
1. Immanuel Lutheran Church, 164 Hanover St.
2. Community Towers, 55 Willow St.
3. John Barry School, 124 Columbia St.
4. St. Rose Community Center, 34 Center St.
5. Firehouse, 260 Sherman Ave.
6. Washington Middle School, 1225 N Broad St.
7. Firehouse, 168 Chamberlain Hwy.
8. New Life Church, 262 Bee St.
9. Maloney High School, 121 Gravel St.
10. St John’s Lutheran Church, 520 Paddock Ave.
11. Israel Putnam School, 133 Parker Ave.
12. Hanover School, 208 Main St.
13. Lincoln Middle School, 164 Centennial Ave.
Joan Ives-Parisi, Republican registrar of voters, anticipates that the polling places will be busy on Election Day, but said all necessary COVID-19 protocols will be put in place.
“People will be standing socially distanced, six feet a part,” Ives-Parisi said. “They are required to wear a mask when they enter the polling area. If they don’t wear one, we will make provisions outside the polling area for them to vote.”
Voters will be given the option to wear gloves and all polling workers will be wearing masks and gloves.
“There will be sanitizing solutions available,” Ives-Parisi said. “Hand sanitizer and solutions to wipe down areas that need to be throughout the day.”
None of the typical polling locations have changed, but the areas within the schools for voting have changed.
“Moses Y, Stevens School and Cook Hill School, they will be voting in the cafeteria and that has changed from the gym because they’ve had to store all the excess furniture in the gym for the social distancing for the children,” Ives-Parisi said. “... Rock Hill has been moved to the cafeteria, but it’s actually closer to the entrance for those people. All the other ones are staying the same.”
Wallingford Polling Locations
District 1: Pond Hill School, 297 Pond Hill Road.
District 2: Evart C. Stevens School, 18 Kondracki Lane.
District 3: Moses Y. Beach School, 340 N. Main St.
District 4: Dag Hammarskjold Middle School, 106 Pond Hill Road.
District 5: Cook Hill School, 57 Hall Road.
District 6: Parker Farms School, 30 Parker Farms Road.
District 7: Fritz School, 415 Church St.
District 8: Wallingford Senior Center, 238 Washington St.
District 9: Rock Hill School, 911 Durham Road.
According to Michael Early, Republican registrar of voters, Election Day will be handled the same way as the primaries, with adjustments to entrances and exits designed to reduce crowding.
The town bought 14,000 voting golf pencils for Election Day, Early said. Each voter can throw away their pencil after they vote so more than one person will not be touching the same writing utensil. Voters are allowed to bring their own pens as long as the ink is black or blue.
“The golf pencil is the only one we could use because it’s a No. 2 lead,” Early said. “... Matter of fact we did our test with them and they came out alright. We’re not recommending people bring their own pencils.”
“I voted” stickers will also not be given out this year amid the pandemic.
“We don’t want anybody to handle the ‘I voted’ stickers,” Early said. “We know people will be kind of mad at that because they look forward to it...”
Southington polling locations will have stand-up booths to expedite the voting process.
All poll workers will have hand wipes, sanitizers, masks, shields and gloves. They will also be temperature checked before entering the building at the beginning of the day.
At the end of the voting process, there will be a place for voters to dispose of their gloves and pencils and to get hand sanitizer.
“We don’t want to sanitize people with hand sanitizer on the way in with the issue being that if you put too much on and you get it on the ballot, the ballot will swell and the ballot will not go through,” Early said. “... We’re providing gloves on the way in …. And recommending they get their wallets and IDs out before they come in.”
The Southington polling locations are the same locations in past elections.
1. South End School, 10 Maxwell Noble Drive
2. Kennedy Middle School, 1071 South Main St.
3. Derynoski Elementary School, 240 Main St.
4. Hatton School, 70 Spring Lake Road.
5. Flanders School, 100 Victoria Drive.
6. DePaolo Middle School, 385 Pleasant St.
7. Kelley Elementary School, 501 Ridgewood Road.
8. Thalberg Elementary School, 145 Dunham Road.
9. The Tabernacle, 1445 West St.
10. Oshana School, 79 Church St.
11. Strong Elementary School, 820 Marion Ave.
All of the polling locations in Cheshire will be equipped with hand sanitizer, masks for those who may forget one and wipes that will be used to clean the equipment throughout the day.
“We’re trying to make this as safe and smooth an experience as possible for everyone,” said Tom Smith, Democratic registrar of voters. “We’re asking people to be patient and observe social distancing guidelines.”
Social distancing guidelines will also be enforced.
“Everything will be the six foot distance markers,” said Susan Pappas, Republican registrar of voters. “We have tape to put on the floor to indicate the six feet and hopefully everybody will be respectful and do what they need to do to stay safe.”
About a third of Cheshire’s 20,000 registered voters are using absentee ballots.
“We don’t know what sort of turnout we’re going to get at the polls,” Smith said. “Turnout may be less because of (absentee ballots). It will be a busy day regardless.”
None of the Cheshire polling locations have changed due to the pandemic. The majority of the polling locations are the town’s schools.
“We work closely with the schools and the schools will be ready for students the next day being sanitized after everyone from the voting leaves,” Pappas said.
Cheshire Polling Locations
District 1: Cheshire High School, 525 South Main St.
District 2: Chapman School, 38 Country Club Road.
District 3: Artsplace, 1220 Waterbury Road.
District 4: Norton School Gym, 414 N. Brookvale Road.
District 5: Doolittle School Gym, 735 Cornwall Ave.
District 6: Highland School, 490 Highland Ave.
District 7: Dodd Middle School, 100 Park Place.