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Volunteers prepare for Election Day amid COVID-19 concerns

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- We're four days away from Election Day, and the COVID-19 pandemic remains a top issue for voters.

So much so, that more than 50% of Woodbury County voters cast their ballots early, setting a new record for Woodbury County.

Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill said more than 25,000 absentee ballots have been requested, and more than 22,000 have been returned.

He said they will begin processing ballots on Saturday, but can't start counting them until Monday. This year, there will 28 polling locations in Sioux City.

Gill said before heading to the polls, make sure you have a photo ID with you, and if you requested an absentee ballot, but decide to vote at the polls, bring the ballot with you.

Election Night is no easy task. It takes dozens of poll workers to get the job done. This year, because of COVID-19, training those workers required extra work.

Gill said COVID-19 has made preparing for election night difficult.

"We just had 3 more cancel this morning who tested positive for COVID, so we are constantly in a struggle to make sure we have enough people at the polling places," said Pat Gill, Woodbury County Auditor.

Right now, Gill says they're short about 20 workers and that number is constantly changing.

"We probably have over 200 county-wide that we are trying to make sure we have appointed people there to make sure people can cast their ballot," said Gill.

In Sioux County, Iowa, auditor Ryan Dokter said they have enough poll workers, and even have a backup list. They have about 110 workers who have already been trained.

The auditors said on top of the "normal" training that an election precinct official has to go through is COVID-19 safety training.

"We have temporary barriers that we will install on top of the tables that'll create some distance between the workers from the public," said Dokter.

Beyond that, poll workers will have to sanitize voting booths and pens after every use. Something they have never had to do before -- but is crucial to ensure their safety, as well as the voters.

Overall both counties say they're ready to take on election night.

Polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day.

You can find the full list of polling places in Sioux City, Woodbury County and Sioux County below:

Xava Parra

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