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How to Vote Safely during COVID-19

vote safely during COVID-19
How to vote safely during COVID-19

As COVID-19 is changing everything in our lives, many people will vote this year amid many worries about voting safely.

Because of the presidential election in November, many Americans are worried about how they can vote safely and protect themselves from COVID-19 while doing so.

vote safely during Corona
American election in November

Health experts agree that voting by mail is the safest method to avoid the risk COVID-19

But, how can people who want to vote in-person vote safely?

The more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the upper the danger of COVID-19 spread. When voting in-person, the risk of COVID-19 is higher because of the crowds and longer wait time.

The best way to reduce the risk of the virus is to stay home and avoid contact with others. People are worried about standing in lines to vote and coming into contact with others at polling stations. Since many can’t control those environments, they may want to consider other options before they decide to head to the polls.

New York, for example, is working to exceed who can vote by mail this year. While most states already allow voting within the mail, some states don’t permit to request a mail-in ballot.

Some states allow you to request a mail-in ballot or an absentee ballot. If your state allows you, request it as soon as possible. It depends on your state. For instance, Some states are allowing you to request a ballot without an excuse or excuses include concern over COVID-19.

vote by mail during COVID-19
Vote by mail to stay safe

The droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze can spread COVID. It is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or things that have the virus on it. Personal prevention practices (such as hand washing, staying home when sick), clean surfaces, and keep distance are important actions election officials, poll workers, and voters can take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.

Depending on this fact, is it safe to vote in person on election day 2020? Or should you find other ways to vote safely?

Experts say the answer depends on many factors  – your personal risk, the degree of Covid-19 transmission in your local area, and your willingness to plan and use personal safety care while casting your vote.

Other ways to vote:

Early voting or ballot drop-off boxes are other solutions. Other ways to vote that limit the number of people you contact with or the amount of time can help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

So, the safest methods to vote are using mail or dropping -off your ballot.

voter drops off her ballot
voter drops off her ballot

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 50% of voters will cast their ballot by mail.  But, If you decide to vote in person, here’s how to vote safely:

-Try to avoid crowds

If voting on Election Day, vote at off-peak times to avoid crowds. Stay at least 6 feet from others.

For sure, polling locations will take more measures to ensure safety, like putting barriers in between voting stations, reducing the number of people inside a voting area, and protect healthy behaviors in voting locations.

-Practice healthy behaviors to vote safely and slow the spread of COVID-19.

1-Wear a mask

All workers and voters should wear Masks. Especially when physical distancing is difficult. workers should know about the proper use, removal, and washing of masks.

Voters have to use masks while in the polling location. They should bring alcohol to the station so can sanitize their hands after removing their masks.

wear a mask to vote safely
wearing masks to keep safe during election day.
2-Bring your own pen and hand sanitizer with you.

Bring your own pen to fill out a form, so that you don’t have to touch one that other people have touched as well.

Be sure to practice good hand hygiene habits when you vote. You may touch screens, pens, paper, and door handle when you vote — and likely a lot of people have touched them before you. wear gloves or immediately wash your hands and use hand sanitizer after touching any item.

Though poll workers are cleaning these items regularly, you should practice good hygiene habits to protect yourself and others

3-Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette 

Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol at each step in the voting process. Use it when interacting with poll workers, after using the voting machine, and at the end step in the voting process.

At the election place, the workers should put alcohol-based hand sanitizers infrequently used locations such as registration desks. Wash or sanitize your hands before entering and after leaving the polling location. The alcohol-based hand may damage paper ballots. Therefore, poll workers and voters should ensure their hands are completely dry before handling these items.

Poll workers have to wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains  60% alcohol.

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or within your elbow. Voters should throw these tissues in the trash and wash hands immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

– Be prepared ahead of time

Check your local election office for the available methods to vote in your area, what you need to bring, or more voting information for people with disabilities.
Voters must be prepared to vote. Make sure to know where your polling place is, and bring any necessary documents you may need. It will improve your voting experience and decrease the line of voters behind you. It’s also a good idea to be familiar with the contests on the ballot before heading to the polls. Anything you can do to shorten the time in the polling place is better for you and your fellow voters.

 

Is it safe to volunteer to be a poll worker?

become a poll worker
Is it safe to become a poll worker?

This is the year that we’d like everybody who can be a poll worker to please come out and volunteer to be a poll worker.

People who are young and less at risk of serious illness, choose to volunteer on Election Day.

poll workers should be educated about when they should stay home and when they can return to work.
Poll workers have to stay home if they are sick, have tested positive for COVID-19, or after recent close contact with a person with COVID-19.

 

To vote safely is not an easy task. We are in the heat of a pandemic, and Americans still want to know that their vote will count. In-person can be a safe option this election only if you follow the right prevention practices. Arming yourself with the correct knowledge, being prepared, and following public health guidelines will ensure that everyone can vote safely this year.

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