In what is being described as a ‘record avalanche’ of early votes, the polls have been seemingly busier than usual during this season of early voting. Here in Charlotte, voting stations are available city wide. Bank of America Stadium is acting as a polling station so you can social distance and cast your early vote. But, with numbers on rise both in terms of voters and COVID-19, how do you practice early voting safety in this time that requires special consideration? The good news is that by going early, you’re already taking the first step.
How-to Practice Early Voting Safety during COVID-19: Safety in Numbers
Wear a mask
There are a few different things that you need to do in order to both follow CDC guidelines and to practice early voting safety. The first step we encourage is wearing a mask. While many public spaces currently enforce this mandate— you might find that you can sometimes slip through the cracks. Even in those instances, we encourage you to wear your mask. As we mention above, the number of early voters is at a record high. This means that even on a slow day or during an hour you might think to be slow, you might still find yourself in quite a long line or big crowd. Wear a mask, be aware, and keep your distance even if there is no one close by telling you to do so.
Hand Sanitizer is essential
Many polling places are skipping stickers this year and instead opting for pens with a stylus. Exercising the pen versus sticker option keeps you from having to touch as many different things. While this is absolutely a helpful and mindful step for North Carolina to take, it doesn’t fully eliminate the sanitation issue. So, keep hand sanitizer in your pocket or bag. Use sanitizer after every step of the process and hope others do the same. Early voting safety starts the same way as any other situation does— by keeping your hands and spaces clean and sanitary.
Consider mailing in your ballot
If you want to avoid the polling places altogether, consider choosing the mail-in ballot option. Mail-in ballot locations are located all over the city. All you have to do is drop your ballot in the box and go on with your day— easy as that! Many people feel wary of this option for any number of reasons. But, if you feel confident in doing so, mail-in voting a great way to practice early voting safety. Just make sure you are aware of the deadlines and that you have filled your ballot out properly.
Don’t let COVID-19 deter you from casting your vote!
I hope that through this article we have proven to your that early voting safety is possible! Whether it’s by mail, at a location in the coming weeks, or on election day. No matter how you vote, it is absolutely possible to protect yourself and others to the best of your ability. Vote safe, sanitize, find the best method for you, and practice your civic duty. We wish you a safe and healthy holiday season in this difficult time.