Polls workers get masks, other PPE for June 23 election

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Poll workers across the state will have masks, gloves, face shields and other safety gear to work next week’s in-person voting during the state primary.

The state is providing 5,000 masks, 4,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 5,800 face shields and 20,000 gloves for the June 23 election. The PPE will be distributed to all 120 counties.

“I encourage every Kentuckian to vote, which is their duty as an American, but we must take every precaution available to protect voters and poll workers exercising that fundamental right,” said Gov. Andy Beshear said in making the announcement. “We continue to take action to allow people to safely exercise their right to vote on Tuesday, including ensuring our poll workers have this protective gear.”

The Kentucky Board of Elections asked for help to provide PPE for the primary elections. Beshear, the Board of Elections and Secretary of State Michael Adams previously reached an agreement to allow Kentuckians to vote via absentee ballot ahead of the election to protect voters from COVID-19, but there will be in-person voting on Tuesday.

“Our election officials, poll workers and voters across the state will benefit from his leadership in procuring and providing this critically needed PPE,” Secretary of State Michael Adams said.

“We are specifically grateful for the supply of much needed personal protective equipment that will keep county clerks, their deputies, poll workers and voters safe during the June 23 primary election,” added Jared Dearing, executive director of the State Board of Elections.

At the recommendation of Adjutant Gen. Hal Lamberton, Beshear also has authorized plainclothes Kentucky National Guardsmen to assist at polling sites. County clerks, some of whom have indicated a need for additional assistance, can request the assistance of guardsmen.

“Our poll workers have traditionally been the backbone of our election system, but many of them fall in the population vulnerable to COVID-19, so we want them to take every step necessary to limit their exposure while allowing Kentuckians who haven’t yet voted to go to the polls,” Beshear said.

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