Voting Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic

woman in mask holding I voted sticker

Voting is one of the most important rights you have as a U.S. citizen.  

But this year, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has raised safety concerns we haven’t faced in previous elections.  

Maybe you have already voted by mail. Or maybe you have decided to vote in person, either by voting early or going to the polls on Election Day. 

If you’rgoing in personremember these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

Make a Plan 

  • Be prepared. Make sure your voter registration information is correct before you go. Have all of the documentation and forms you need, and make sure they are already filled out. Look at a sample ballot at home so you aren’t surprised and you can make your choices quickly.  
  • Plan your trip. Avoid crowds as best you can. Mid-morning may be less crowded than early morning or evening. You could also watch the lines from outside the building and wait until they get shorter to join. 

When You Go 

  • Bring your own pen (with black ink) to the polls. If your polling location has touchscreen voting, bring a stylus or a similar object. But check with election workers before you use it. 
  • Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol with you and use it often. Especially after touching high-contact areas. That includes door handles and voting equipment.  
  • Wash your hands before you go inside your polling location and again after you leave.  
  • Wear a mask. If you have trouble breathing, talk to your doctor first.  
  • Even if you’re wearing a mask, keep at least six feet apart from others who aren’t part of your household.  
  • Don’t disinfect or wipe down voting equipment yourself – you might damage it. Wait until after you use it to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. 
  • Use hand sanitizer again after you exit. 
  • Wear your voter sticker proudly! 

We’re in this together. Let’s take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while exercising our right to vote 

Jean MurrayJean Murray is the director of Infection Control at Anne Arundel Medical Center.