The presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden has led to high numbers of early voting across the country, due to both COVID-19 concerns and passion on both sides.
But officials still expect plenty of voters to cast their ballot on election day, Tuesday, November 3. Consumers who plan to visit a polling place can expect things to look a little different this Election Day because of the pandemic.
From setting up plexiglass partitions to asking voters to practice six-foot social distancing, polling places have gone to great lengths to prevent the spread of the virus. Federal health officials have advised poll workers to minimize contact with voters and follow COVID-19 procedures, including wearing a mask and gloves.
For voters, the CDC recommends washing hands before entering and after leaving their polling location, wearing a mask, and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others. The agency also recommends voting at off-peak times, such as mid-morning, in order to avoid crowds.
What to bring
To make sure you stay safe and have your vote counted, be sure to bring the following to your polling place.
Personal identification. Two-thirds of states expect voters to provide identification in order to vote. A list of acceptable forms of ID can be found here.
Your own pen. Bring your own black or blue ink pen in case you need to sign something. One may be provided for you, but this will help eliminate any extra risk of contamination.
Face mask. Health officials highly recommend wearing a mask. Some county guidance states that polling places cannot turn people away for not wearing a mask. However, maskless individuals will often be asked to wait to vote until it’s less crowded or asked to vote away from others.
Hand sanitizer. The CDC recommends bringing hand sanitizer with greater than 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, which is the level needed to kill most coronaviruses.
Glove or cotton swab. If your voting station has touch-screen voting, consider bringing a glove, cotton swab, or finger cover to reduce contact with surfaces.
For help locating your polling place, visit this website. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You have the right to vote as long as you are in line by 8 p.m.