Voters cite COVID-19 safety as reason for voting early
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - On the day before Election Day, tens of thousands of Kentuckians cast their ballots early.
Some, like Brandie Cooper, told WAVE 3 News the decision to vote early was influenced by concerns over COVID-19.
“I didn’t want to wait for the last minute and then there be a line, dealing with COVID and everything," Cooper said.
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Cooper said as a first-time voter, it was important for her to beat the large crowds and cast her ballot in an environment she was more comfortable in.
“It feels awesome," she said. "I didn’t think it was going to feel like I felt. So I really do feel good.”
Others, like Christine Brown, were happy to vote early because of how much space venues like the Expo Center offered to voters.
“This was probably the better way to do it," Brown said. "You could space everybody apart. It’s a large area in there. It made it much more comfortable than to be in a small school.”
In addition to a large voting area, the Expo Center also offered hand sanitizing stations both inside and outside the building and had several employees sanitizing doors and other heavily-touched areas. All voters were also required to wear masks upon entry and practice proper social distancing while inside.
Dr. Zhalet Baharestan with UofL Health told WAVE 3 News those practices will keep the polls safe.
“I think that going to the polling sites presents the same risk as it would just going to the grocery store, as long as you take the same precautions and remember that it’s really important to have the face covering and to stay away from respiratory droplets and also airborne transmission, which you know, have been proven ways that this virus has very efficiently been transmitting itself.”
Baharestan also encouraged voters who were concerned about COVID-19 to ask people for more space or wait in their cars for lines to die down before they cast their ballots.
“I think if everybody works together to themselves, each person be safe themselves, I think it will work towards the greater good which is to allow us to go and vote while maintaining safety," Baharestan.
Safety was a primary concern for voters like Cooper, who told WAVE 3 News she was pleasantly surprised with how well the Expo Center was following the COVID-19 guidelines. She said she was optimistic they would be able to maintain that level of compliance on Election Day.
“They did a good job today, so hopefully tomorrow goes smooth," Cooper said.
Polls in Kentucky open at 6 a.m. on Election Day and will remain open until 6 p.m.
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