Detroit election ready for in-person voting on Primary Day

With the COVID-19 pandemic, a record number of people are expected to vote by mail in Michigan and across the country this year. Others will still vote the traditional method and the Detroit clerk says everything is being done to keep them safe this year.

Many voters, like Delores Bell, are opting to vote by mail this year are dropping off their ballots at the Detroit City Clerk's office.

"With the COVID, I have my mom and my father, two elderly people, I knew I couldn't risk their health," Bell said.

But not everyone is voting by mail. Voters who decide to cast their vote in person still will have the proper protection in place as the city of Detroit is taking no chance to promote social distancing, provide personal protective equipment, and implement other safety protocols for voters and workers.

"There will be social distancing. They're not required to wear a mask. They'll be encouraged to wear one," director of elections, Goerge Azzouzz said, while saying that mask and shields for all workers will be provided.

Workers will also be paid hazard pay on top of the original base pay for working the polls.

Voters also don't have to be concerned about inadequate staffing at polling sites 

"Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has sent us over 1,000 poll workers. These are people who are home, working from home, on furlough," clerk Janice Winfrey said.

City officials tell FOX 2 that 95,000 absentee ballots were sent out and, as of Thursday, 50,000 have been returned. That's barely half, leaving some to wonder if all votes will be counted 

"We will finish counting Election night we purchased high tabulating machine for absentee ballots," said Azzouzz.

As some, including President Donald Trump, voice concerns that high numbers of absentee ballots can lead to fraud, Winfrey said voting by mail is safe.

"Whenever you put information that is not proven, it's a form of voter suppression. There's been no evidence in the city of Detroit that voter fraud has ever taken place," said Winfrey.

Looking ahead toward Tuesday, city officials say the bottom line is they're ready.