A Brief Guide to Voting Safely in Person

Public health experts say it should be possible to vote safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

LA County in person voting begins today! CNN has some helpful tips to keep you safe if you plan to vote in person:

Check your polling station

What’s the level of protection that will be in place at polling centers? Know in advance, if:

  • You’ll be spending the majority of your wait standing outside
  • Masks are required of both voters and poll workers
  • 6-feet spacing markers will be visible to control social distancing
  • There is a separate entrance and exit from the voting area
  • There will be a Plexiglas barrier between the voter and the poll worker
  • Poll workers will wear face shields, surgical face masks and gloves
  • There will be adequate space between voting privacy booths
  • Poll workers will sanitize frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, voting booths and bathrooms regularly

Vote at less busy times of the day

Most people are likely to vote before or after work or at lunch time. If you can aim for mid-morning or early to mid-afternoon, you may encounter fewer lines.

You may also encounter fewer people if you vote early in the window of opportunity your state provides for early voting.

Carefully choose your mask

Be picky about your mask. Studies have shown that cotton masks with two or three layers of fabric are more protective than single-ply masks or bandanas. A recent study found bandanas and gaiter masks to be least effective protection.

Cover your nose, please

It’s not safe to stand in line with your snout exposed even if your mouth is covered, experts say. That’s because wearing a mask over the mouth but leaving the nose exposed defeats the purpose of a mask, studies have shown. Since the vast majority of us are not mouth breathers, the virus is mostly likely to enter as you take a breath through your nose.

Vote alone

Unless you have a disability that requires assistance, vote alone, experts say. This is not the year to bring your children or other non-voting family members to the voting location.

Come prepared

Along with that highly protective mask, you should definitely bring tissues and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol or disinfecting wipes, the CDC says.

Voter intimidation

If you believe that you are a victim of election fraud or have witnessed a criminal violation of the California Elections Code, use the Election Voter Complaint Form to report the violation to the California Secretary of State. You can also report intimidation to the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español).

Read the full list of recommendations online.

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