Coronavirus and the Primary Election – How safe are the polls?

Should voters be worried about their health on Election Day? The simple answer is no, at least not for this election.

Portage County Board of Election Deputy Director Terrie Nielson says that the polls on election day will be relatively safe. 

“You probably have more contact with people at the grocery store, then you’re going to have at a polling location,” Nielson says. “It’s just not that kind of an election.”

While polling locations are doing everything they can to protect voters, some cleaning methods could destroy voting machines.

“Hand sanitizer can damage our machinery,” Nielson says. “So we have to be very careful about how it is used.”

Despite the risk, the sanitizer will be available at the polls for anyone concerned about their health.

And if the hand sanitizer isn’t enough, worried voters can cast their ballots ahead of time during early voting periods, and avoid the crowds.

According to Nielson, Portage County even offers curbside voting, where voters don’t even have to leave their cars.

Here are some polling location changes in Portage County:

  • Kentway Retirement Center (Kent City 5B) polling location has been moved to the United Church of Christ, Children’s Choir Room located at 1400 East Main Street, Kent, OH  44240 for this election only
  • University Hospital Portage Medical Arts Building (Ravenna City 1A, Ravenna Township A, and Ravenna Township B) polling location has been moved to Maplewood Chrisitan Church at 7300 State Route 88, Ravenna, OH  44266 for this election only.

For more information regarding early voting and polling location changes, visit the Board of Elections website,

Rachel Gross is a TV2 correspondent. Contact her at [email protected].