Poll worker opens up about extra safety COVID-19 training ahead of Election Day

Safety measures at SC polls for workers and voters

YORK, S.C. (WBTV) - On the eve of Election Day, South Carolina’s state health department announced close to 800 new cases of COVID-19.

With long wait times and thousands of people expected for Election Day, poll workers are taking safety seriously. They are taking extra steps to keep you safe.

On the last day of absentee voting, long lines were seen at the only polling location in York County. These are the lines poll workers are expecting on Election Day so they took extra training for the best safety precautions.

There is at least one thing on the minds of voters as they wait in long lines.

“Safety. Safety. Safety,” says voter Chan, who did not give a last name.

On Election Eve, voters waited more than three hours packed closely together and a handful without masks. Chan, a voter who didn’t give me her last name, says taking safety seriously -- comes easy.

“I was with the other two ladies and we all have social distancing and we all wear masks,” says Chan. “Cause what I do for a living, safety always comes first. It comes first everyday.”

The people waiting outside might not be as safe as Chan, but there are people waiting inside that are making safety a priority.

“The safety of the voter is most important,” says poll worker Nate Willey.

Safety is so important that Nate Willey, a poll worker, took an extra COVID-19 training. Everyone working the polls had to take the training and pass a test to be able to be inside helping voters.

“We want them to feel safe I coming,” he says. “We don’t want to disenfranchise anybody.”

Willey brushed up on that training Monday.

His training tells him to reduce the spread by not touching his mask or face, only help voters who request it and encourage voters to take sanitizer and gloves. The workers will not handle your IDs like usual and there will be two to three lines to get people in and out as fast as possible.

“Obviously keep the safety of the voter in hand,” he says.

While Election Day is gearing up to be record-breaking, Willey says workers have had plenty quizzes preparing them for the big test.

“We’ve had a lot of trial and error during absentee voting but I think we would out all the kinks and we’re ready for the big day,” says Willey.

The safety protocols that we have been telling you about—sneeze guards, q tips, and social distancing will all be at your precinct as well.

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