Voting will be a little different this Election Day.
If you haven’t voted by mail already or cast a ballot at an early-voting center, Tuesday is your day. And if you plan to vote in this primary, you will want to take note of keeping safe at the precinct amid the pandemic.
Yes, there are rules.
For one, it doesn’t matter who you’re voting for or which precinct you go to, all voters must wear a mask covering your mouth and nose at all times. Gloves are optional.
Remember, masks are the law in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. And if you break it, you can be fined.
You also need to stand at least six feet apart from others while waiting in line. That might make the line seem longer than usual, though with the rise of voting-by-mail, its unlikely that the wait will be too bad.
One possible plus side of voting during the pandemic? Campaign workers might actually keep their distance as you walk to the polls.
What about inside the precinct?
Here’s what you need to know if you’re voting on Election Day in Miami-Dade and Broward counties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can I bring my own pen to the polls to reduce COVID-19 risk?
Yes, you can but it might not be necessary in Broward County. All Broward voting precincts will be giving free sealed pens voters can use to fill out their ballet and take home as a souvenir, according to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office.
If you want to use your own pen: In Miami-Dade, the ink needs to be blue or black. In Broward, the ink needs to be black.
It’s likely that poll workers will have hand sanitizer or wipes on hand as many did in March during the presidential primary. It’s not advisable to bring a bottle of Lysol and spray it around others, although some poll workers had their own cans earlier this year.
People casting their vote during the early voting for primary election at Miami Lakes Community Center located at 15151 Montrose Rd. in Hialeah on Thursday, August 13, 2020.Are there exceptions to Miami-Dade, Broward mask mandates?
In Miami-Dade, where you have to wear a mask in public, both inside and outside, exceptions include children younger than 2, anyone who has a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering and anyone who is hearing-impaired or is communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired.
Broward County’s mask mandate exceptions are similar to those of Miami-Dade. One noticeable difference: You don’t have to wear a mask outside in Broward County unless social distancing (staying at least six feet away from others) is not possible.
Let’s be real though: if you’re near a precinct, there will be lots of campaign workers and other voters surrounding you. So you’ll likely have to wear the mask.
Will I be socially distanced from others while in line and at the voting booth?
You’re supposed to be.
Both the Miami-Dade and Broward County Supervisor of Elections offices say that floor markings will be located around each precinct to help people stay at least six feet away from others.
In Miami-Dade County, the “privacy booth attendant will be directing voters to the appropriate booth in order to maintain social distancing guidelines”, said Assistant Deputy Supervisor of Elections Robert Rodriguez.
In Broward County, the booths will be six feet apart and voters are encouraged to stagger their entry to reduce the amount of people inside the area at a time, said Broward County Elections Department spokesman Steve Vancore. For voters who really want to stay away from others, you can always try to keep at least one empty booth between you and others if the precinct isn’t busy.