Patriotism during a pandemic. Sioux Falls voters are voting in the Republican and Democrat primaries, and also the postponed school board and city elections. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, voters have to follow a few more rules. Precincts are adapting and younger generations are stepping up.

Voters are often proud of using their voices, even though many of them chose not to show their faces this year.

“I had my mask on in there,” Rita Timmer said.

Timmer was far from the only one wearing a protective mask while she voted. A polling place near 57th and Minnesota is one of many following COVID safety guidelines by encouraging masks, staying six feet apart, minimal contact and using plexiglass shields.

“I felt very safe coming into the voting precinct and they did a good job of keeping everything according to the restrictions,” Timmer said.

Election worker Mary Sweeter says volunteers are finding ways to keep everything business as usual.

“I think we’ve had enough time with our coronavirus that we’ve just adjusted to rules to keep ourselves safe and you know healthy,” Sweeter said.

Throughout the day, Sweeter has seen a good turnout of young voters like Jack Lawrence.

“Your voice is way more important in a local election count and one vote can really swing an election,” Jack said.

Younger people aren’t just going out to vote. They’re also volunteering to work.

“It’s really important for me to get younger people voting,” Natalie Poppens said.

19-year-old Poppens is volunteering as an election worker for the very first time. She wanted to help out to prevent a shortage of workers due to the pandemic, but she is also encouraging others her age to be active in the process.

“If there’s younger people here, more young people can relate to me and be like, oh, there’s younger people here,” Natalie said.

Despite all of the pandemic safety measures, none of the COVID-19 barriers seemed to be a…well…barrier for people doing their civic duty.

“We gotta keep going,” Timmer said.