MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - This upcoming Primary Election Tuesday, some voters in Manatee County will not be heading out to their normal polling locations. Because of coronavirus concerns, there aren’t enough polling workers to work on August 18th. As a result, 13 polling locations have been consolidated.
“The problem was a loss of clerks. Most of our clerks are senior citizens and some of them were nervous themselves about the virus,” explains Mike Bennett, Manatee County Supervisor of Elections.
Another change is that all Manatee County voters will be required to wear a mask when walking into their polling location because of the countywide mask mandate.
“We will have masks available. We will ask that they put a mask on. We will be protecting all of our employees and we’re hoping that the public also understands why we’re going to request they do it,” says Bennett.
In Sarasota County, they’ve also seen a decline in polling workers and will be consolidating polling locations.
“And obviously that’s because of COVID. (It’s) to help us maximize our poll workers and efficiently distribute them throughout the county since we have to cover the entire Sarasota County area on Election Day,” says Ron Turner, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections.
Since the coronavirus pandemic struck, both counties have seen record numbers of vote-by-mail requests.
The vote by mail has gone up drastically or right at 100,000,” says Bennett.
To see if your polling location changed in Sarasota County, click here.
To see if your polling location changed in Manatee County, click here.