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Presidential primary in Florida will go on as planned

Northeast Florida election officials taking coronavirus precautions at the polls

Northeast Florida election officials taking coronavirus precautions at the polls

Despite ongoing concerns over the new coronavirus, the presidential primary in Florida will go as planned Tuesday.

Arizona and Illinois are also proceeding with their presidential primaries scheduled for Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Ohio’s health director was set to order polls closed just hours before they were to open there. Georgia already postponed next week’s primary, and Louisiana has postponed its scheduled April 4 primary.

Clay County Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambless told News4Jax that there are a lot of precautions being taken to keep everyone who goes out to vote safe. He said cleaning will be happening throughout the day to limit any potential spread of germs.

“Individuals will come into a polling location that continues to be sanitized throughout the day. They will receive the ballot. They will go to the booth -- again, sanitized throughout the day. They will go put it in the tabulator and receive that vaunted ‘I voted’ sticker,” Chambless said. “I think voters can expect to find polling locations cleaner than most places in Clay County.”

Chambless said roughly 15% have early voted so far in Clay County, which is on par for a normal presidential preference primary, and he thinks Tuesday’s numbers will not be abnormally low. In talking to voters, News4Jax heard a range of opinions on whether Florida made the right move to still allow people at the polls.

“Hopefully people go early and go intermittently so they’re not in line altogether, spreading germs,” said a voter named Donna.

Voter Doug Riley said he’s not concerned about going to a polling place.

“Not with the preparations that a lot of people have been making right now,” he said. “I know a lot of businesses, a lot of public places are doing extra cleaning right now.”

In St. Johns County, Precinct 306, located at Coquina Crossing Community Center, has been moved to Good News Church at 1357 Wildwood Dr. in St. Augustine.

According to St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will be provided at all voting locations for use by poll workers and voters, and workers will be cleaning surfaces on a regular basis.

In Duval County, election workers are also taking precautions, including wiping down voting equipment with sanitized wipes every hour at each site.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Though have been some changes in polling locations, including in Duval County, the vast majority will be open and ready to take voters.

About the Author:

Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.