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Precautions taken to keep voters & poll workers safe during Wisconsin primary election amid coronavirus outbreak

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It was unlike any other primary election voters in Wisconsin had ever seen.

“A lot of people have been taking the gloves, the pens, definitely the hand wipes, the Clorox wipes,” said Breana Stephens, who passed out supplies.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, long lines formed at the five polling sites throughout the City of Milwaukee.

“Trying to keep distance and do my thing and we sort of quarantined,” said a voter leaving Riverside University High School.

To keep people healthy and safe, staff from the City of Milwaukee Health Department distributed masks and face coverings to voters in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“I don’t think people should be voting today, people dying,” said Willie Johnson, a voter.

Staffers were dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE). Anyone sick or with COVID-19 symptoms, wasn't allowed in the general voting area, and received assistance from a worker.

Voter Rosemary Oliveira said she felt she had no choice despite health concerns. “I have to come down here today and risk my life, to vote and I’m happy to do it because that is my right.”

Meantime, poll workers indoors wore gloves and masks, while trying to maintain a physical distance of 6 ft. Officials also encouraged people not to reuse pens or to bring their own at the polling locations.

In a tweet, Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said, “I’m sorry…I wish I had the authority to protect us from this.”

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