Elections during the COVID-19 pandemic: What you need to know

Early voting is underway in Florida.

Voters may have noticed the section of Orange County’s sample ballot dedicated to COVID-19 safety.

The safety information is just one of many changes voters can expect.

“Unlike what was talked about in other states, combining elections, combining polling locations, lost poll workers, we’re holding our own and we’re going forward as if it was a normal election,” said Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles.

Cowles said it’s full steam ahead.

On Monday, a line of voters were seen waiting to cast ballots in the local primary.

During a pandemic, voters can expect changes to the traditional process.

Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office. (FOX 35 Orlando)

“When you walk-in, you’ll go up to the check-in area. There’s a Plexiglas shield separating you from the poll worker, you hold up your ID and they can scan it through the Plexiglas,” Cowles said.

The goal is to make voting a contactless process.

Voters are encouraged to bring a mask and gloves. If not, they will be provided.

Folks are also urged to bring a black or blue pen.

“If not, they will offer you one and put it in a piece of Kleenex and hand it to you to take over to the booth,” Cowles said.

Booths will be spread apart at least 6 feet.

If voters want to avoid crowds, it’s recommended they vote during non-peak hours, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

But the easiest and most physically-distant way to vote is by mail.

The mail-in method is expected to be most popular this election cycle.

“There’s options for you on how to vote. It depends on how you feel. You pick the option best for you,” Cowles said.

The elections office says since the pandemic started, it has received more than 200,000 vote-by-mail requests.