Voting in Person During the Pandemic

October 28, 2020

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

Staying Healthy at the Polls

There is no disagreeing that this year’s presidential election will be absolutely historic. Between the pandemic, the current direction of our healthcare system, raging wildfires on the west coast; there is a lot at stake. Even though I will not be commenting on any candidate today, or advocating for different voting methods, I will be providing some safety tips to stay healthy at the polls this year if you have decided that you will be voting in-person at the polls. 

A lot of public health officials have been speculating recently about what the risk of contracting COVID-19 might be if someone decides to vote in-person. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer and this ultimately comes down to a few factors that could increase risk of contracting COVID-19 at the polls in some areas. Some considerations to be made are the most current transmission rates in your community; how many people are estimated to attend the polls in-person in your community; how many volunteers will be running the polls and your community; and what your personal health conditions are. There are many other considerations to make of course, but these would be a good start. It is also crucial that all of the considerations listed above be made in the context of your local community. Although turning on the nightly national news is a great way to get information about the state of the nation as a whole; it might not give indication as to what is happening in your community. To learn more about what is happening in your area; contact your local clerk office and health officials.  

Even though you may not have a pre-existing condition (diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, etc.), it is also important to consider the toll on your mental health when voting in-person. If you know that there is a possibility that you will be riddled with anxiety and negative emotions at the polls, maybe it would be a good idea to consider some other voting methods.  

Finally, I leave you with a few safety tips to better safeguard your health and the health of others at the polls this year:  

  • Wear a mask  

  • Use hand sanitizer after contacting high-touch surfaces such as door knobs and pens 

  • Dress for the weather; you may be waiting outside in line longer than you think because of physical distancing guidelines  

  • Stay calm and take deep breaths; ease your nerves with some deep breathing as needed  

This year has been full of uncertainties, but it is still incredibly important to exercise your right to vote. Take whatever precautions that will help you feel safe and secure, and use whichever method to vote that is right for you. Last, but certainly not least; thank the volunteers at the polls! They are working incredibly hard to help you exercise your right to vote and have to abide by all kinds of new guidelines to ensure everyone’s health and safety. To learn more about voting, check out Layla’s blog!  

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