Across the state of Mississippi, people are getting ready for Election Day Nov. 3.
For Secretary of State Michael Watson, keeping voters protected at their polling places during the COVID-19 pandemic is a high priority.
“The focus is on safety, on cleanliness, making sure Mississippians can go vote Nov. 3 and feel safe,” Watson told WLBT Friday.
Watson was on hand in Jackson Friday as National Guard members loaded protective equipment to eventually be distributed to all 82 Mississippi counties for use at polling stations during the election. Included in the shipments are disposable pens, masks, face shields, gloves, disinfectant and hand sanitizer.
The state Legislature allocated $4.7 million for the supplies through federal COVID-19 aid that came to the state earlier this year. Additional pay for poll workers, who will be required to wear on Election Day, is included in the funding. Voters will not be required to wear masks.
Many Mississippians eligible to vote using absentee ballots have already cast their votes. That option is open now to anyone 65 or older, as well as for a few other excuses such as being out of their home county on Election Day. Mississippi is one of only a handful of states that do not offer early voting to those ineligible to cast an absentee ballot.