MINNEAPOLIS — The city of Minneapolis has announced plans to move 50 polling locations for the upcoming August 11 primary and November 3 general election, in an effort to keep voters safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a city news release, 16 of the relocated polling places are being moved out of senior homes, high-rises and other residential buildings. Another 32 polling locations are being moved due to limited space that would make it difficult to maintain six feet of social distancing. The final two locations are being moved due to construction.
"The importance of this election requires that Minneapolis voters be able to cast their ballots safely," Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement.
"We take people’s democratic right to vote and the life safety of our seniors seriously," Council Member Jeremiah Ellison said in a statement. Ellison serves as chair of the city's Elections & Rules Committee. "It’s for that reason that we do not want to expose our seniors to any dangers related to coronavirus by putting polling places where they might come into contact with thousands of people on Election Day."
Registered voters will receive a postcard in the mail with the location of their new polling locations. Voters can also check the Minnesota Secretary of State's online Polling Place Finder, or call 311 on the day of the election.
The city plans to have 94 polling locations for the 2020 elections, including 35 in schools and 22 in park buildings. Some of those locations will be home to more than one precinct.
The city is encouraging residents to vote by mail in the upcoming elections, but Frey and Ellison said they also wanted to provide a safe environment for those choosing to vote in-person.
"We encourage people to vote by mail, but want our residents to know that if they do go out and vote, they can do so without the fear that they are putting our seniors in danger," Ellison said.
"While we can and will encourage everyone to vote by mail, expanding physical space is an essential measure for making in-person voting as safe as possible for our elections staff and our residents," Frey said.