Is it safe to vote in person?

Election day is a short time away. You may be wondering if it will be safe to go to the polls on November 3rd. The CDC recently recommended that voters should consider alternatives to voting in person. COVID-19 mainly spreads by person-to-person transmission. Standing in lines with lots of other people while waiting to vote can increase your risk of getting sick.

The safest way to vote is by mail-in (absentee) ballot. Several states (WA, OR, CA, UT, CO) now vote entirely by mail, and more than 20 states will send a mail-in ballot to any voter who asks for one. A number of other states (TX, IN, KY, TN, AL, VA, DE, MA, NH) will mail ballots to voters who prefer not to vote in person due to COVID. For more info, here’s a link that will direct you to your state’s election office.

In most cases, you can still vote in person, even if you request an absentee ballot. So it’s probably a good idea to request your absentee ballot now to allow enough time to get your ballot before election day. And you can probably still go to the polls if you change your mind.

If you decide to vote in person on election day, or if that is the only option in your state, here are some tips to reduce your risk:

  1. Maintain spacing of at least 6 feet while you wait in line.
  2. Wait outside if possible.
  3. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after you vote.
  4. Wear a face covering whenever you are inside or distancing is not possible.
  5. Consider early voting if your state offers it. 
  6. Have your identification documents ready, if they’re required.
  7. Review a sample ballot at home so you can reduce time at the polling location.
  8. Bring your own ink or touch screen pen.

Finally, make sure you register to vote before your state’s deadline! Even if your state permits same-day registration, registering early will save you time on election day. 

So be prepared, and exercise your right to vote!


Last update: July 16, 2020 11:10 am
Science review: JAB, ERS