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Early voting begins here in Maryland tomorrow, October 26th. Elections officials warn of long lines due to Coronavirus precautions.

“(We’re) just trying to make sure people are able to vote safely,” said Michael Thompson of the Baltimore City Board of Elections. When asked about specific protocols Thompson shared, “making sure all the devices are wiped down after we use it. That’s another thing that might slow up the process more. You don’t want to send someone right into a place if someone just came out of unless it has been wiped down, so I have to say, I think that will probably make it a little slower than usual.”

It may be a little inconvenient but safety is most important.

Personally, I haven’t sent in my ballot because I was flirting with the idea of voting in person. I’ve also been weighing the concerns of COVID-19 exposure at the polls but after reading Thompson’s statements, I can ease a bit of anxiety. It’s good to know that elections officials are not shying away from the tedious tasks of thoroughly sanitizing polling centers. Limited people in the buildings and other restrictions will surely cause delays.

“The fact that you can’t pull everybody in, we’re trying to keep everything on a one-to-one type basis. You have to spread so much stuff out,” Thompson said. Apparently they’re even preparing for voters to show up without masks. Those who intend on voting mask-less will be asked to fill out a provisional ballot in a separate area. Some COVID-19 screening questions cannot be asked but you may be asked if you’re “feeling OK”. Those who aren’t feeling well will also have to fill out a provisional ballot in a separate area.

Check out the 2020 General Election Public Health instructions from the Board of Elections. Also, remember to do your part in protecting yourself and others during this unprecedented voting season.