More than six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced changes in our normal routines and daily activities, with health and safety now top of mind. We have watched summer fade into autumn, and cooler days alert us of another significant activity just around the corner – Election Day. It is important to carefully consider how to vote safely and what method will work best for you as you participate in this year’s election. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Are you registered?
The first and most important step is to make sure you are registered to vote. A quick visit to healthyvoting.org will bring you to state-specific voting information and links to check your voter registration status in New York and Vermont, among other states and locations. You can also find tips and recommendations for voting safely on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Voting locations and requirements may have changed this year due to COVID-19, so be sure to check your polling location and any other voter requirements in your voting jurisdiction.
Vote by mail or drop box
Mail-in and drop box voting is a healthy and safe option in this year’s election, as it vastly reduces the amount of social interaction you have with others. After completing your ballot at home, you can return your ballot by mail or drop it off at a voting location.
Remember to follow these steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer after touching a public mailbox, drop box or door handles.
- Wear a mask and practice physical distancing, leaving six feet or more between you and others.
Vote in Person
If you plan to cast your vote in person, do your best to avoid crowds and limit the amount of people you come into contact with as best you can. Try to vote at off-peak times on Election Day; polls are typically busiest in the morning, around lunchtime and after work hours. Check to see if your voting jurisdiction offers early voting, when you can vote in person at selected polling locations prior to Election Day.
Here are five steps you can take to vote safely, and protect the poll workers and other voters in the community:
- Wear a mask.
- Physically distance, stay at least six feet apart from others.
- Clean your hands with soap and water or a hand sanitizer before entering the polling place, and upon exit.
- While in the polling place, disinfect your hands with alcohol-based sanitizer when you touch any doors handles, writing utensils or any other high-touch surfaces.
- Bring your own pen to fill out your ballot, or your own stylus if using a touch-screen voting machine, if possible.
Just as we have done in all other parts of our lives – at home, school, work and in our communities – we can all work together to keep each other healthy and safe this election season.