Voters take part in early voting for Florida’s primary amid COVID-19 concerns

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HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) – Voters across South Florida took part in early voting at polling stations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, as concerns surrounding the coronavirus grow with the World Health Organization declaring the virus a pandemic.

Despite the increasing concerns, the supervisors of elections in Miami-Dade and Broward counties said on Wednesday that it is safe to vote.

“We’ve had over 125,000 people vote already, which is a very good turnout for this type of election,” Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections Christina White said. “We’re ready. The polling places are going to be clean. We’re prepared.”

7News cameras captured South Floridians taking advantage of early voting for Florida’s presidential primary, which is scheduled for March 17.

As thousands of people are expected to head to vote over the next week, polling stations across the region are stocked with hand sanitizer, disinfectant and soap and water.

“I think we’re in very good shape here in Broward County to have a successful election,” Broward County Supervisor of Elections Peter Antonacci said. “I think we’re in pretty good shape. We have alcohol[-based cleaners]. We have Lysol.”

Some voters said they noticed the precautions put in place for this year’s primary.

“When I walked in, I definitely saw the hand sanitizer stations and everything, so they’re doing their part to prevent the spread,” one voter said. “Walked right in, no wait time.”

“We drove by during our lunch hour [and] saw there was no cars,” a second voter said. “I don’t think the coronavirus will keep them away.”

“I sanitized immediately when I walked in,” a third voter said.

However, fears over COVID-19 are apparently spreading among poll workers in Broward County. As local cases rose over the past few days, several of them who were scheduled to work have called out.

“We’ve lost a small number of those, but we got plenty of duplication there as a cushion,” Antonacci said.

Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that counties can relocate voting precincts that were scheduled to be at senior living facilities.

“Allow the residents to vote there, but maybe the general public should have the option, or should be directed, to go to a different polling location,” DeSantis said.

Meanwhile, in Miami-Dade County, the fears of the coronavirus did not stop some voters from casting their ballot.

“Took me like two seconds to do it,” a fourth voter said. “Wash your hands, use hand sanitizers, and that’s pretty much it.”

“You should be washing your hands anyway,” a fifth voter said. “Come out and vote. It’s very important.”

7News has reached out to officials in Miami-Dade and Broward counties in response to what the governor said Wednesday, and they said no changes have been made as of yet.

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