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Curbside Voting during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Greenbrier Library worked to keep a safe, social distance between voters during the 2020 municipal election.

CHESAPEAKE, Virginia — The City of Chesapeake took extra precautions through a rainy, pandemic municipal election day Tuesday.

The city wanted to make sure people's voices were heard, while still ensuring that poll workers and voters were taking steps to avoid transmitting COVID-19. 

This year, they offered curbside voting - a technique used in the past for disabled voters - now, on an expanded scale due to the pandemic. 

Curbside voting allowed voters to stay inside their cars while an attendant came out to assist them with paperwork. With that service, voters never had to step foot inside the poll center. 

Mail-in ballots were another safe option, and while several Chesapeake locals chose that method, many decided to drive to the Greenbrier Library and vote inside.

One such local, Robert Barnes, said if he could stand in line at Walmart, he figured he could stand in line to vote. Barnes said he didn't want to vote by mail in case his ballot got lost.

He wasn't the only one who was impressed by how easy it was to come in and out of the polling site while maintaining a social distance.

"I think they did a fairly decent job at keeping the social distancing intact," said Chesapeake voter Melvin White. "We have to adapt and adjust, so I'm taking it as the new norm."

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Another voter, Melba Banks, used her cloth mask to support a candidate while slowing the spread of the virus.

"I've got my mask on and my matching shirt, and I think right now we just have to follow the guidelines and stay safe," Banks said.

Polls opened at 6 a.m. and will stay open until 7 p.m. tonight. 

For an updated list of Chesapeake polling locations, click here.

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