ROCHESTER, Minn. - The coronavirus is changing the way we'll vote in the August primary and November election.
The city of Rochester is already preparing for the adjustments.
City clerk Anissa Hollingshead says physical polling locations are expected to pose a health risk to voters even months down the line. So, mail boxes may become the new ballot box for many voters.
Hollingshead said, "In Minnesota we already have that option to vote by mail and we anticipate there will be quite a few more people taking advantage of that option."
Physical voting locations like nursing homes, churches and schools are no longer ideal options so the city is considering moving or consolidating locations.
"So, making sure we have places that are open and accessible to the public, offer plenty of space to allow for voting to occur in person with adequate social distancing," she said. "And, just making sure we can get that environment as safe as possible."
There are also issues to consider with poll workers since many are generally older and at a higher risk if exposed to the coronavirus.
Hollingshead added, "We want to make sure we have good contingency plans in place so that we have enough judges so that we're able to have successfully operating polling locations whatever that may look like in August and November and that's not something you can fix a week ahead of time so it's something we have to definitely be planning now."
The city says it is also working on ideas other than mail-in voting for those that may find it difficult to do so and will provide options so that everyone is able to successfully cast their ballots this year.