Polling locations change last-minute due to CDC guidelines for COVID-19

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MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Just 19 days away from the 2020 presidential election. And as we get ready for the historic day, News 5’s Amber Grigley found out there are a number of people along the Gulf experiencing last-minute polling location changes.

Judge of Probate Don Davis said these changes were necessary to comply with the CDC Guidelines for COVID-19. However, many people who live just off of Lott Road in Semmes tell me this decision wasn’t well thought out to meet their needs in a community predominately elderly.

“We are not stupid, we can keep our distance. Don’t take us for being stupid. We can stay in our automobile until it’s time to go in,” Sue Norman said.

For at least 20 years, Norman has been voting at Haven Woods Baptist Church. Which is probably less than two minutes from where she lives.

Norman along with others in this area found out their polling location changed from Haven Woods Baptist Church to The River on McCrary Road. Which is about five minutes apart, sparking concerns for those with disabilities trying to vote on Nov. 3.

“I don’t know why they want to move it. There’s a lot of elderly here,” said Norman.

A great concern that Davis is well aware of, but it was truly beyond their control.

“That church was not suitable for us to use as a poll location and there were no other suitable facilities within the precinct,” Davis said.

Davis said they had to change about 30 locations to meet CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. And by now, all voters should be aware of those changes.

“Last week, we sent a post to all registered voters advising them of all kinds of important elections information,” Davis said.

And for the first time, Mobile County even changed how you vote by using electronic poll notebooks to minimize contact time between voters and poll workers.

“Those are some of the most notable measures that we are taking in Mobile County to ensure that any citizen who comes to vote on election day will be a safe experience for them,” Davis said.
Norman said she understands that we are in a pandemic, but it still doesn’t make much sense to them.

“No, we go in Walmart and put our masks on,” Norman said.

Davis said they had a record-breaking turnout for early elections and expect Nov. 3 to have an even bigger turnout. To find out where your polling place is located, visit Alabama Votes.

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