In the Bay Area, where voting in the California primary has already occurred, local officials have issued a shelter-at-home order, effectively barring people from leaving their homes under most circumstances.
But in states that vote Tuesday, officials are doing an elaborate dance, encouraging people to stay home except when absolutely necessary — while also reassuring voters that it’s OK to take part in the political process.
Dr. Le said that despite the seriousness of the virus, voters who take necessary precautions shouldn’t feel obligated to stay home. She has been closely following preparations at the state level, and she expressed satisfaction with the precautions being taken.
“Particularly for states like Arizona and Florida, where there’s a higher population of older voters, they’ve done a great job I think of pre-emptively preparing themselves,” she said. That includes “making sure that their polling stations and poll employees know what to do in terms of accepting people when they come; making sure the machines are cleaned before and throughout the day, so that when people come in they’re not contaminating each other.”
In Florida, the most delegate-rich state on the Democratic calendar Tuesday, more than 100 cases of the virus have been confirmed, and at least three people have been killed by it, according to a New York Times database. Mark Ard, a spokesman for Florida’s Division of Elections, said the state was coordinating its response with the 67 county election supervisors and was helping provide counties with health supplies.
“We are working with the supervisors of elections to make sure they’re prepared and they have what they need, working with their emergency management officials to make sure that they have what they need,” he said in an interview.
Polling sites in Florida, Illinois and Arizona have been moved out of many senior centers in order to prevent voters from coming into contact with higher-risk, elderly voters. “Our recommendation would be if there’s a polling location in an assisted living facility, allow the residents to vote there,” Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said Wednesday. “But maybe the general public should have the option or be directed to go to a different polling location.”