Poll workers in San Francisco have a lot more than just tables and voting booths to set up this year. Because of the pandemic, the city is making sure each of its 588 polling places is stocked up with everything necessary so people can vote and still stay healthy Tuesday.
“Voting is still more important than the health of even these pandemic measures that we’re all taking now,” said Director of San Francisco’s Department of Elections John Arntz’s perspective. He says Election Day will be a safe and smooth process. PPE, hand sanitizer, face masks, and face shields have now been dropped off at every single polling place in the city.
“What we’ve tried to do is the groundwork for poll workers and for the voters as much as possible so they don’t have to think about how to vote safely, interact with the voting process on Election Day,” Arntz said.
Some of that groundwork includes cleaning schedules and diagrams that show poll workers exactly where to set up tables, booths, and voting equipment, and also how to usher voters through a small space while still following city health guidelines.
Amanda Sani and Christopher Harris got to see the preps when they showed up to vote in-person Monday at the outdoor voting center set up next to Civic Center Plaza. Sani said, “I felt like they did a really good job making sure that everyone had enough space and had attendants waving people through in certain areas to make sure people weren’t clustered in areas.” And Harris agreed, saying, “I never felt like I was being crowded or had a risk that I didn’t want to be in.”
Masks are required to vote in-person. If you show up to vote without a mask, you will first be offered a free one. If you refuse to wear it, poll workers have been instructed to set up an individual voting booth outside at least nine feet away from other people. When that voter is finished, the area will be sanitized immediately.
As of Monday, 62% percent of all registered voters in San Francisco had already cast their ballot. The city is expecting that number to grow by at least 10% on Election Day.