When it comes to this fall's elections, officials are worried about both safety and soggy ballots.
The secretary of state's office hosted an online meeting Thursday for town moderators to discuss preparations for the Sept. 8 state primary and Nov. 3 general election. While voters will be allowed to vote by absentee ballot if they're concerned about the coronavirus, the state also is making plans to ensure those who show up at the polls in person stay safe.
Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said the state will provide N95 masks for poll workers interacting with voters, face shields for moderators and others who may be walking around the site, disposable surgical masks to offer to voters and tall plastic sneeze guards to separate workers from voters.
Each voter will be given a pen and a paper pad to place under their ballot while marking it. That way, the table surfaces in the voting booths won't have to be wiped down after each voter, which could create wet surfaces that mar the ballots, said Bud Fitch, attorney for the secretary of state's office.
Likewise, voters won't be offered hand sanitizer until after they drop off their completed ballots because the moisture could jam the machines.
"Then you can drown your hands as much as you want," he said. "But we don't want them getting the ballots wet."