Tips for Safe Voting During COVID-19

Tips for Safe Voting During COVID-19

Tips for Safe Voting During COVID-19

It’s time to vote in the U.S. The lines at the polls are long, and that means the wait may be long, too. Because your risk of getting COVID-19 increases when you’re around a lot of people, you’ll need to make some plans to stay safe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a few tips for voters:

Practice healthy behaviors

Here are steps you can take to protect yourself and slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands before entering and after leaving the polling location.
  • While in the polling location, use a hand sanitizer that is made with at least 60% alcohol frequently, especially after you touch surfaces that are frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles or voting machines.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in lined trash cans. Then wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Wear a face covering. Children under 2 and anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without help should not wear a face covering.
  • To the extent possible, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from others. It is important to continue social distancing even when you and others are wearing face coverings.
When to wash your hands

Because electronic voting equipment can be damaged by cleaners and hand sanitizers, it is important to wash your hands after voting, but leave cleaning the equipment up to the poll workers. If you use hand sanitizer before touching the voting equipment, make sure your hands are completely dry to avoid damaging the equipment.

Tips to avoid crowds
  • Use early voting, if available in your jurisdiction.
  • Vote at off-peak times, such as mid-morning.
  • If driving to the polls and your schedule allows, monitor the voter line from your car and join it when it’s shorter.
Go Prepared

Being prepared to vote will reduce the time it takes to cast your ballot:

  • Check your voting location and requirements in advance because they may have changed due to COVID-19.
  • Verify that your voter registration information is correct in advance of going to the polling site.
  • For voters with disabilities, contact your local or state election office leaving site icon for information about special accommodations they may have.
  • Make sure you have all necessary documents to avoid delays at the polling location, including your driver’s license or other form of ID.
  • If any registration forms are needed, complete them before going to vote.
  • Where possible, review a sample ballot at home to speed the process of casting your ballot.
  • Bring your own black ink pen or bring a stylus or similar object for use with touchscreen voting machines. Check with poll workers before using.
Source: Recommendations for Voters, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020