With so much attention on the controversy over mail-in ballots, a more pressing worry is to ensure a smooth running of polling sites, where some 60 million people are still expected to vote this election, The New York Times reported.
State and local authorities nationwide are concentrating efforts on such major concerns as hiring and training enough poll workers and having contingency plans if there is a spike in coronavirus cases just before the election.
Paul Gronke, an expert on in-person voting at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, stressed that a nightmare scenario is not problems with mail-in voting, but "a meltdown at the polling places."
With 58% of the poll workers 61 or older, an age more susceptible to the coronavirus, government officials and nonprofits have started campaigns to recruit younger people to be poll workers, offering both financial incentives and pleas for civic responsibility to "save democracy" as part of a viable backup plan.
Another problem is the polling station itself, which is often too cramped amid coronavirus.
One example of authorities finding solutions is in Maricopa County, Arizona, one of the nation's largest voting jurisdictions.
They are moving many of the 500 polling places too small to be safe to approximately 175 voting centers, in locations such as shopping malls and convention facilities, county elections department spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson told the Times. She said 80 sites will be open for a 27-day early voting period.
Election experts have welcomed providing polling stations in large structures such as arenas, although many want to ensure people can still vote near where they live and not have limited options.
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