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Franklin County Elections Board Approves Funding To Make Voting Safer

Franklin County Board of Elections during the delayed spring election on April 28, 2020.
Ryan Hitchcock
Franklin County Board of Elections during the delayed spring election on April 28, 2020.

This year’s election is going to look very different, and the Franklin County Board of Elections on Monday voted on various stop gap measures to meet the needs of a COVID-19 election.

Board members approved 4,000 privacy shields to help keep voting booths more separate, at a cost of $35,000.

They also approved the purchase of curbside voting envelopes and provisional ballot envelopes, as they expect different methods of voting to be more heavily-utilized during the pandemic. This November, the state will allow voters who don't feel comfortable or safe voting in-person to cast their ballots from their cars.

They will be renting warehouse space at the Ohio Expo Center to open up 28,000 square feet of space, allowing for social distancing during early absentee in-person voting.

When it comes to allocating things like voting machines for polling places, board member Carla Patton says it is still a moving target.

"We do fully expect changes, some of these locations are not totally set yet, but to come up with the numbers we based it off of the locations from last election," Patton says.

The board also voted on several proposals to make election workers safer, including plexiglass dividers for work stations and laptops for working from home.

Ohio election officials say they still need to recruit thousands of poll workers for Election Day.