Residents turn out for early voting

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It was a touch-free practice of democracy.

“I’m going to give you a Q-Tip for the voting machine so you don’t have to touch it,” poll worker Ellen Ball said as she handed the cotton swab to a voter casting an early ballot Thursday at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.

Welcome to voting in the age of pandemic.

Polls opened Thursday at the fairgrounds for a third day of early voting ahead of next week’s primary election. It was shaping up as a busy day: A half-hour after doors opened at 2 p.m., 58 people had already voted, according to poll workers.

“It’s been steady and there’s already been a line a couple times,” Ball said, spraying down the check-in table with sanitizer during a break in the activity.

In-person early voting was moved to the fairgrounds to allow more space for social distancing.

Lines of tape on the floor inside the 4-H Building directed voters to socially distance as they waited to check in. Clear shields separated voters from poll workers, who wore masks and gloves to hand out ballots and sign the sealed envelopes.

More than a dozen voting machines stood spaced apart on tables at the opposite sides of the room. Voters had access to hand-sanitizing stations at the entrance and exit.

“I think they had it fairly well organized and laid out well to maintain social distancing,” voter Sherri Devitt said after casting her ballot.

Early voting resumes from 2 to 7 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the fairgrounds. The last chance to vote early in the 4-H Building is from 8 a.m. to noon Monday.

Voters can also cast a ballot from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hoover Elementary School, 1301 S. Elm St.

On Election Day Tuesday, polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at North Montgomery High School, Southmont High School and Hoover Elementary.

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