Poll workers are cancelling amidst coronavirus outbreak

At St. Andrew's Church in Pleasant Hill, a steady stream of voters came to make their voices heard at the ballot box.

About 80% in Contra Costa County are voting by mail, but not the folks who came to St. Andrew's. 

"I like the experience of going into the voting booth on the day of. It's just exciting," said Eva Dubois of Pleasant Hill.

While election officials didn't know if any prospective voters stayed away from polling places out of fear of contracting the coronavirus, election officials say it did affect the election day staffing at polling precincts.

"Over the weekend about three dozen poll workers said they didn't want to work anymore because of the virus. So we've had some cancellations," said Scott Konopasek, the Contra Costa County Assistant Registrar of Voters

But that's about 36 dropping out out of a staff of approximately 1,600 people.

One other point of possible concern are the touch screens voters may use to cast their ballot.

Voters are free to wipe their screen with their own cleaning product  if they choose. Although we didn't see anyone do that. 

Poll workers are not required to clean the screens.

"We talked about that. And we talked about what public health officials are telling us to do. It all boils down to personal hygiene," said Konopasek.

All the ballots must be sorted and entered into special machines for tabulation.

The election head says he doesn't believe hackers, especially foreign ones, can breach the system.

"We hardened our system. We've tightened our procedures. We've done a top to bottom security review of our posture," said Konopasek.

On this first Super Tuesday vote for California, turnout is estimated at about 60% in Contra Costa, high for a presidential primary.