Voting is an essential part of a functioning democracy. Although voting may look very different in 2020 than in past presidential elections, we can work together to ensure that voters can safely cast their ballots while limiting the spread of COVID-19.
The Bipartisan Policy Center partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to provide guidance on precautions voters, election officials, and poll workers can take to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community from further spread while exercising the right to vote.
The recommendations for voters include:
- Avoiding wearing gloves at the polls
- Leveraging early voting or vote by mail options to avoid crowded polling places, congestion and lines on election day
- Voting at off-peak times of day
- Bringing your own supplies, such as hand sanitizer, an ink pen for paper ballots, or a stylus for touchscreen machines. Verify with an election official before using your own supplies
The recommendations for election officials and poll workers include:
- Requiring cloth face coverings for poll workers
- Using engineered controls such as plexiglass partitions at check-in
- Minimizing the handoff of personal items like pens and driver’s licenses
- Avoiding communal foods for poll workers during breaks
- Disinfecting pens, touch screens, folders, headphones between voters
Voting in the middle of a pandemic will be unlike anything we’ve experienced in the past century. By understanding your rights and being prepared ahead of time, you can ensure your voice is heard.