JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – In order to give voters more safe opportunities to cast their ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder George Stern is launching the county’s first-ever mobile voting site. A trailer, which was repurposed from JeffCo Open Spaces, has been outfitted with the basic necessities of a standard in-person voting center.
However, it allows voters, and staff, to keep a safe social-distance from each other in an outdoor setting.
“Flexibility is critical during COVID-19,” Stern told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “We have always wanted to have flexibility with our vote centers.”
Stern said the trailer and tent voting setup was already a concept they had prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he admitted the timing was convenient with new social standards.
Tami Bender, elections technician with JeffCo, was tasked with remodeling the trailer and making sure it was capable of hosting polling tools.
“It was great timing,” Bender said. “(Voters) will be more than six feet apart. I think it is going to work out great.”
The trailer itself will only be occupied by elections staff, who will be able to register voters and print ballots from inside. Plastic shields are set between potential voters outside, and the staff inside. After ballots are printed, they will be handed to a staff member who will then take the voter and ballot to a designating voting booth. Each booth will be properly distanced from others, with fresh outdoor air helping circulation.
Bender said staff members will also make sure everything is clean and sanitized.
“They’ll their ballot in to our orange ballot bag” Bender said. “We’ll be sanitizing and wiping (booths) off after every voter.”
In Colorado, more than 98% of voters turn in their ballots either by the mail or drop-off. Stern said this new tool should help encourage more people to vote, especially if they need to do so in person.
“Let’s we have an unfortunate event of having outbreak at one of our sites and have to close that sight temporarily. We can roll this up in our parking lot and not miss a beat,” Stern said. “COVID-19 can certainly not stop Colorado elections, whether it is a global pandemic or anything else.”
Jefferson County plans to use the trailer for the first time during the June 30 statewide primary. As of the publishing of this article, the county planned to have it stationed at the Evergreen Library that day.