The 2020 elections bring a new set of challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Most states offer early voting as well as mail-in ballot options, and Safe.Voting has developed a list of voting options by state, to stay safe during COVID-19. Making sure you are registered in advance may increase your available voting options, and can also help you spend less time at the polling place.
Those planning to cast their ballot in person can help protect themselves and others by planning ahead. Large crowds and longer wait times for in-person voting can increase the risk of spreading respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 and influenza (flu). But there are steps you can take to protect yourself and others.
- Double-check when and where you can vote. Your voting location may have changed from previous elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- If you are an older adult or have a chronic health condition that puts you at greater risk for serious complications from COVID-19, plan to vote at a time when the polls are typically less busy, like mid-morning.
- Review and fill out a sample ballot, and take it with you to the polls, so that you spend less time voting.
- Plan for the safest way possible to get to your voting location. If you take public transportation, try to avoid crowded ride-sharing services, buses, or trains. Wear a mask, try to stay at least 6 feet away from others, and use hand sanitizer. If you drive, you may be able to check the voter lines and join when the lines are shorter.
- Plan for someone else to take care of your children or other loved ones. Taking them with you to vote can increase their risk of getting COVID-19.
When you vote, make sure you bring your own supplies:
- Necessary identification or documentation (check specific requirements by voting site)
- A face mask
- Hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol)
- Black ink pen
When voting, or any time you go out in public, you can help protect yourself and others by:
- Wearing a face mask around others
- Avoiding close contact: Try to stay at least 6 feet apart from other people (especially those not wearing a mask)
- Taking extra care when touching public surfaces and washing your hands often or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
Get Your Flu Vaccine
Any type of public gathering can contribute to the spread of other respiratory diseases, including flu. Getting an annual flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get vaccinated against flu each year. Flu vaccination is especially important this year to help protect individuals and prevent additional strain on an already overburdened US healthcare system.
Additional Resources about Safe Voting
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Healthy Voting project of the American Public Health Association, Center for Civic Design, Center for Tech and Civic Life, National Association of County and City Health Officials, and We Can Vote
- The Brennan Center and Infectious Diseases Society of America
To join the conversation and get the latest news on infectious diseases, follow NFID on Twitter using the hashtags #COVID-19 and #StopTheSpread, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, join the NFID Linkedin Group, and subscribe to receive future NFID Updates.
With flu activity on the rise and vaccination rates lagging across the US, NFID is reminding everyone age 6 months and older to get vaccinated against flu
Leading national experts at the 2023 National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) Annual News Conference: Preventing Disease this Fall and Winter emphasized the importance of vaccination to help prevent disease and protect public health …