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How Minnesota is protecting voters at the polls during the COVID-19 pandemic

The federal CARES Act gave Minnesota $8.4 million for supplies to protect voters and poll workers on Election Day.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Will you be voting from home, or at the polls on Election Day this year?

Mail-in absentee voting is expected to shatter records by five-fold in Minnesota in 2020, with an estimated 1.2 million ballots being cast from home, according to Secretary of State Steve Simon, who oversees the state's elections.

However, many voters still prefer to (or, in some cases, need to) vote in-person on Election Day. That's presenting a challenge this year, during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Federal funds are being used to protect voters and poll workers on Election Day. The federal CARES Act gave Minnesota $8.4 million for supplies at the polls. The Secretary of State's office is using that money to provide:

  • 50,000 3M masks for poll workers
  • 230,000 disposable masks for voters
  • 8,000 gallons of hand sanitizer
  • 8,200 gallons of disinfectant
  • 6,000 sanitation stands

Simon said this will ensure every booth, pen, and table will be sanitized after every use, and if you don't have a mask, there will be enough for the state to provide you one.

The pandemic has also left many polling places in need of poll workers. Those positions tend to skew older, which is also the age group considered more at-risk for COVID-19. People interested in a paid poll worker job can contact their local county election office.

Get more information about voting in the 2020 election in our KARE 11 Voter's Toolkit:

MINNESOTA: 2020 Voter Guide: What to know about Minnesota's elections

WISCONSIN: 2020 Voter Guide: What to know about Wisconsin's elections

If you have questions about the 2020 election, text your question to our KARE to Vote team at 763-797-7215.