Exercising one’s right and ability to vote is a crucial role for American citizens. With COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory illnesses circulating around the nation, taking precautions during November’s election will help voters minimize their exposure to infection.
“We recognize the importance of voting,” Department of Public Health Director Demetrius Cianci-Chapman says. “While measures are in place to reduce the spread of illness at polling places, individuals must take steps to protect themselves while voting — just like they would if they were participating in other activities around our county. Reducing close contact with others and following the prevention recommendations that have been shared for several months will help to make this election safe and healthy for all.”
Tips for Protecting Yourself and Others From COVID-19 While Voting
Since the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread person-to-person, the longer an individual interacts with other, the higher the risk for the spread of illness. Personal efforts to prevent this transmission are important, and necessary, precautions to take. During the upcoming November election, these preventative actions include:
- Limiting your time at the polling place by confirming that your voter registration and polling place are correct, ensuring you have necessary identification documents and reviewing the ballot to become familiar with candidates and issues prior to arriving.
- Choosing to vote during off-peak times to avoid crowds.
- Following instructions from the election judges to maintain the health and safety for all individuals.
- Continuing healthy behaviors that minimize the risk for the spread of illness:
- Maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others in and around the polling place.
- Washing hands with soap and water prior to visiting the polling place and using hand sanitizer frequently during the voting process. Ensure that hands are completely dry before touching voting equipment to avoid damage.
- Wearing masks or other face coverings in and around the polling location.
- Limiting the number of unnecessary persons at the polling place by not bringing along children or other non-voting individuals.
The CDC offers additional considerations for election activity on its website.
Following recommended precautions such as maintaining social distancing, washing hands and frequently touched surfaces regularly and covering your nose and mouth will reduce the risk for exposure to or spreading contagious illnesses. For additional information on St. Charles County’s efforts to reduce the spread of illness, visit sccmo.org/COVID. For questions about symptoms or testing, call the St. Charles County COVID-19 Hotline at 636-949-1899 or speak with a medical provider.