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Changes could come to polling places in Fall to combat COVID-19

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 6:20 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Although many polling places mandated wearing a mask, staying six feet apart and sanitizing to combat COVID-19, health officials are thinking of new ways to increase safety.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said counties with a mask mandate have seen COVID-19 cases decrease in the past month.

With voters going to polling places, he fears the state could see an increase in cases.

"I've said all along that I don't like any kind of mass gatherings."

He said adjustments to polling places could be a possibility when the general election in November comes around.

“In a community will say that, or a neighborhood, where they formally had one polling place, they would have three or maybe four. Just to diffuse people out,” said Norman.

The idea comes from speaking with the Missouri Cabinet Director of Health and Senior Services, Dr. Randall Williams, on ways their state tried to decrease the spread.

“It’s obviously a little bit tricky because you have to have more polling personnel and booths and all that kind of thing, but they felt it went pretty well,” said Norman. “We’ve learned a lot about congregate settings and places where people gather and I am optimistic that we will put that to good use.”

Norman believes mask wearing is still the best way to decrease the chance of spreading the virus. He will wait and see the number of cases as they come from the counties to make any changes to polling places in the future. “We are going to work with the Secretary of State to make sure the November elections are as safe as can be.”

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