First, familiarize yourself with a sample ballot before you head out to vote. These are usually available on your state or local election office’s website. This will increase your awareness of the process and format so that you arrive with a game plan for voting, which will minimize the amount of time that you must spend at the voting location.
Second, if you live in a state where identification is required to vote, double check that you have it with you so that you do not waste a trip to the polling place.
Third, take items like a pen, hand sanitizer and a tissue or gloves with you. Finally, try to vote at a time of day, like early morning or mid-afternoon, when your precinct is less likely to be crowded.
Upon arrival, the lines at the polling location may seem daunting. Ease your discomfort by tapping into the recommended public health behaviors that will help to balance the importance of voting with protecting your health. These include:
- Wearing a face covering – and wearing it properly! Help protect others in case you are asymptomatic from the virus by making sure your nose and mouth are fully covered.
- Maintaining 6 feet of physical distance. If people encroach on your space, politely retreat and ask them to keep their distance.
- Minimizing the number of items that you touch. Take your own pen with you to avoid having to share.
- Carrying your own bottle of hand sanitizer to use after you finish voting. You should not wipe down voting equipment as disinfectants can damage equipment, (unless special wipes are provided by the polling location.) Wrapping your finger in a tissue or wearing gloves is a better option. Or, be prepared to use the hand sanitizer, and keep your hands away from your face until you do.
- Washing your hands well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you return home.