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Polling Sites Take COVID-19 Safety Precautions In Cuyahoga County

Voters cast their ballots on Election Day at Orange High School in Pepper Pike, Ohio, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. [Tony Dejak / AP]
Voters cast their ballots on Election Day at Orange High School in Pepper Pike, Ohio, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Voters in Cuyahoga County expressed satisfaction with coronavirus safety precautions taken at polling sites around the region, even as Ohio recorded a record number of new confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases.

"Plenty of spacing, plenty of voting booths, yeah, it was very safe,” said Derrick Harbour of Euclid.

Harbour was concerned about the long lines for early in-person voting at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections because he has knee issues that make standing for long periods of time uncomfortable. He expected a longer line at his polling place in Euclid but said the process was smooth and only took him about 15 minutes.

There were no lines at a polling site in Euclid at 1 p.m. Tuesday [Lisa Ryan / ideastream]

Chris Harris voted in person in Bedford and said it was a natural choice for him to wait until Election Day to vote. 

"I mean, just to be outside, with everyone outside, it's just like the thing to do, for me, to be out while everyone is out and show support for who I voted for,” he said.

Harris is a maintenance worker at another polling place, Fairfax Recreation Center on Cleveland's East Side. He said a lot of work was done to make the process safe from coronavirus spread, including cleaning off equipment and making sure people stay six feet apart.

Shannon Metelko, who voted at Tremont Montessori School, agreed the safety precautions were well managed.

“They had plenty of volunteers telling you how to vote, where to vote, good markings on the floor. Definitely comfortable voting in person,” she said.

Beside her, Sam Skelton agreed. 

“There was a lot of clean measures being made,” he said. “They even had little finger rubber things you could put on your fingers if you didn’t want to touch stuff. I felt safe for sure. Wasn’t crowded.”

At Cudell Recreation Center on Cleveland’s West Side, Darlene who didn't want to give her last name, is a voting location deputy. She said she felt safe with all the precautions in place.

"We have gloves, shields, masks, three sanitize workers. They're not reusing pens, they're taking their pens with them. So they have done a good job,” she said. “So I'm not scared. I'm washing my hands constantly."

A poll worker sits behind a protective barrier at the John Carroll University polling site. [Jenny Hamel / ideastream] 

Darlene reported voters have been wearing masks and practicing safe social distancing. She was initially concerned about voters not wearing masks, but she said it hasn’t been an issue.

"I was a little, had a little anxiety about it, but we have to let them vote. We just have to encourage them. We have curbside voting, but everybody's wearing a mask,” she said.

ideastream's Gabriel Kramer contributed to this report.

lisa.ryan@ideastream.org | 216-916-6158