How A Florida Elections Official Is Leaning On Creativity During A Complicated Year

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Survey workers at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department deposit returned mail-in tallies into an official ballot drop box on main election day on Aug. 18 in Doral, Fla

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. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Interview Highlights

” We rather literally went to every Dollar Tree in the county, and we purchased as lots of Q-tips as we could,” Anderson tells Morning Edition. “Five dollars will buy you 1,500 Q-tips. And we put aluminum foil tape around them and that acts as a conductor of the static electricity from your body to enable you to sign on an iPad.”

Not just did the Q-tip trick save his department money however, Anderson hopes, it will also help keep citizens and election employees much safer in the face of COVID-19.

Thats just one of the ways Anderson has needed to shift his approach as an elections manager in 2020. He talks with NPRs Noel King about why– in between the pandemic, the rise in mail-in voting and the president, at times, questioning the legitimacy of the process– this election will need extra ingenuity.

. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

You are getting something like 96 calls and texts a day from voters in Seminole County. What are they asking? What are they fretted about?

Poll employees at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department deposit returned mail-in ballots into a main tally drop box on primary election day on Aug. 18 in Doral, Fla

Chris Anderson, supervisor of elections in Seminole County, Florida, had a stylus issue.

” One usage for one citizen. We limit the transmission of bacteria between voters and the election workers, and thats simply another method we keep people safe as they vote here in Seminole County,” he states.

Theyre worried about their vote-by-mail ballots. Theyre concerned general about how the election process is going to take location in the midst of whatever that is going on in the world today.

He states it would have cost more than a quarter of a million dollars to purchase adequate pens and styluses required for the countys 328,000 citizens. His department got imaginative.

In light of COVID-19, are you encouraging individuals to vote by mail?

We were the very first supervisor of elections office in the state of Florida to send out the mail ballot demand type to every voter, due to the fact that it was rational to say that the safest method to vote in the middle of this pandemic is to vote at house. We knew if we pressed folks to vote by mail, that would restrict them coming to the ballot locations since at the ballot areas, as you know, we have to do lots of different things– from space tenancy rate control to social distancing and a lot of various things of that nature in in-person voting– which might create some longer wait times.

What is the primary thing keeping you up in the evening?

The main point thats keeping me up in the evening is simply ensuring that voters have the ideal information, in between now and Election Day. Theyre going to get a great deal of things in their mail box. My recommendations to each and every citizen throughout the nation: If you have questions about your elections administration, contact your local administrator.

Marc Rivers and Ziad Buchh produced and modified the audio variation of this story.

Theyre concerned about their vote-by-mail tallies. Theyre concerned total about how the election process is going to take location in the midst of whatever that is going on in the world today. We were the first supervisor of elections workplace in the state of Florida to send out the mail tally request type to every citizen, because it was rational to say that the safest method to vote in the middle of this pandemic is to vote at home. The primary thing thats keeping me up at night is simply making sure that voters have the best info, between now and Election Day. My guidance to each and every voter throughout the nation: If you have concerns about your elections administration, contact your regional administrator.