Local officials shut down several early voting sites in recent weeks after poll workers tested positive for the Chinese virus, online news reports revealed.
There have been at least six closures — in two counties in Florida, one in Texas, one in North Carolina, and a city in Alaska. There could be more closings that were not covered by online news outlets.
The closures provide evidence that election officials are willing to shut down voting sites over the coronavirus, which could impact turnout on Election Day.
Most of the sites reopened after officials cleaned and disinfected the area, resulting in a temporary pause in voting. However, at least one remained close to in-person voting days before the election. Alternate early voting sites were available, but some of the closures took place in isolated rural areas.
In Florida, election officials shut down one voting site in Brevard County and another in Okaloosa County.
Brevard County officials shut down a polling place in Palm Bay “after an unknown number workers tested positive for the coronavirus,” the local Bay News 9 outlet reported on October 30.
As of Saturday, the Palm Bay site remained closed.
On October 19, MyPanhandle.com reported that Okaloosa County officials had closed an early voting site after the supervisor of elections and workers in his office caught the coronavirus.
In a press release issued Sunday, the county said the site would not open until Election Day on Tuesday, adding that a ballot drop box is available to voters.
In Texas, Tarrant County elections officials shut down at least one voting site in the city of Hurst and another in the city of Fort Worth. The voting site in Hurst closed for a day after the lead clerk tested positive, and it ssreopened on October 23.
It is unclear whether officials have reopened the site in Fort Worth, which closed after a poll worker contracted the coronavirus.
Election officials also delayed the opening of a voting location in Euless, a suburb of Fort Worth, “and a couple of others” after “25 poll workers were told to quarantine,” a local NBC News outlet reported on October 19.
“They were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 during an election training class,” it added.
In Alaska, elections officials closed down a polling place in the city of Palmer due to a case of coronavirus detected in a poll worker, the Anchorage Daily News reported on October 24.
The site closed on October 23 and reopened on October 26.
In North Carolina, election officials shut down a voting location in Rockingham County’s city of Reidsville after multiple election workers tested positive for the Chinese virus, WXII 12 News reported over the weekend.
A judge ordered the reopening of the site, WRAL-TV, an NBC News affiliate, added.
The place closed on October 28 and reopened on October 31.
Some counties were better prepared than others to deal with election workers testing positive.
Texas’s Falls County Judge Jay Elliott did not close down what appeared to be the only early voting site in his jurisdiction after a poll worker reported testing positive for the coronavirus.
“We didn’t close down voting, or make it drive-through only. No one had missed a beat when it came to voting,” Judge Elliott told a local ABC News channel.
“We found replacements for the election workers that were there, and then they went home,” the judge added.
The United States has reported a record number of virus cases in the days leading to the November 3 election.