Election day brings coronavirus concerns at the polls

NOW: Election day brings coronavirus concerns at the polls

NILES, Mich. The Indiana Department of Health confirmed two more cases of the coronavirus bringing the total across the state to six, with the closest case in Noble County. Health officials also say that 36 people across the state have been tested for the virus.

Across the state line, the fears of the coronavirus spreading have hit the polls for the Michigan presidential primary race.

Although Michigan has no confirmed coronavirus cases, dozens are being tested at this moment. According to the government website, of 63 cases being tested, 39 have tested negative.

Niles city officials say they just want to be prepared.

“It only takes a couple bad ones to make everybody sick,” Jake Bays, one Niles resident said.

As voters walk through the doors of their polling place, it’s comforting to know the city has precautions in place to help the possible spread of the coronavirus.

“The inspectors have been instructed to wipe down the doorknobs, the pens after people use them, the pencils as they are filling out their applications to vote, the tables anything that may come in contact with not only the voter but the election workers,” Linda Casperson, the Niles City Clerk said.

Casperson said the Niles Police Station also donated gloves in 4 different sizes to the 4 polling locations in the city. All in an effort to keep residents healthy.

“It’s a concern and for our community, we try and do the best that we can to protect our voters and people in our community,” Casperson said.

ABC57 spoke to voters today. Some say the virus is being blown out of proportion.

“It’s a mild case of the flu lot more people died from normal flu than this. Warm weather will eradicate it and it’s plateaued already in China,” Matthew Driscoll said.

Others say the extra precautions are a step in the right direction.

“I think it’s a good idea because the voting population here is older,” Joel Poznanski

“You can’t be too safe,” Jake bays said.

“They’re ready no matter what happens here in Michigan or Niles. People are going to be cautious,” Barbra Bays said.

But is the virus affecting the polls?

“I don’t want people to be discouraged from voting because of it. We do have absentee ballots so people can vote from home so I do want to encourage people to continue to vote,” Casperson said. “So far it looks like a slow turnout but I don’t know if that’s because of the concerns.”

We won’t know the final numbers to see if it really affected turnout until tomorrow or later this week.

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