People who want or have to vote in person during the Nov. 3 presidential election should not be deterred by the coronavirus pandemic, state and local health officials say.
Safety measures will be in place to protect voters from contracting COVID-19 at their polling place on Election Day, meaning they should not be afraid to cast a ballot, said both Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, and Philadelphia Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley.
Both Farley and Levine tried to assuage the fears of voters as coronavirus cases surge again across Pennsylvania and the rest of the country.
“Elections are incredibly important to our democracy, and we all want people to vote. But at the health department, with COVID rates rising quickly now, we want people to vote safely,” Farley said.
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He added that the “most important” thing people should do is wear a mask to their polling place and leave it on the entire time they’re there, as well as on their way out. At the polling place, voters should stay at least 6 feet away from other people, both inside and outside, Farley added.
In Philadelphia, voters will also be given a disposable glove that they can use when they need to touch shared surfaces like pens or voting machines.
Anyone who may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 on Election Day should immediately tell a poll worker, Farley said. That will allow workers to either give the voter an emergency ballot that would allow them to vote away from the polling place, or to clear out the polling place so that the voter experiencing symptoms can vote at a safe distance from other people.
Levine said anyone hitting the polls on Election Day can prepare a coronavirus “kit” that includes a face mask, hand sanitizer and a blue or black pen. She also encouraged people to download the state coronavirus tracking app, which alerts people if someone nearby has tested positive for the virus.
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