CDC: You can vote in person if you have COVID-19 or have been exposed. Here's how to cast your vote safely.

CDC: You can vote in person if you have COVID-19 or have been exposed. Here's how to cast your vote safely.
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said COVID-19 should not keep people from the polls.
  • "Voters have the right to vote, regardless of whether they are sick or in quarantine."
  • Independent experts agree that the risks of having sick people voting in-person, as long as adequate precautions are taken at the polls, are pretty low.
  • All voters should wear masks and respect a six foot distance as they cast their vote.
  • "You should also let poll workers know that you are sick or in quarantine when you arrive at the polling location," the CDC said.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants every eligible American to know they can cast a ballot in Tuesday's presidential election, whether they are free of COVID-19 or not.

"Voters have the right to vote, regardless of whether they are sick or in quarantine," the CDC said, in updated guidance released on its website over the weekend.

The CDC advises that, if you are sick or in quarantine after being exposed to a sick person, you should wear a mask, keep a 6-foot distance from other people, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after voting.
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"You should also let poll workers know that you are sick or in quarantine when you arrive at the polling location," the CDC said in its new guidance.

If you are sick, it's important to minimize the amount of time you spend around other people at the polling station, but as long as sick voters keep their distance and cast their vote efficiently, independent experts agree voting is fairly safe act, for everyone.

"I actually equate it with takeout," Saskia Popescu, an leading coronavirus safety and risk assessment expert and epidemiologist at the University of Arizona, recently told Business Insider. "There are so many safety protocols being put into place for safe voting that it is really a lower-risk activity."
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How to vote safely during the pandemic

CDC: You can vote in person if you have COVID-19 or have been exposed. Here's how to cast your vote safely.
People vote early in Anaheim, California, on November 2, 2020.Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The CDC suggests avoiding close contact with others at the polls, "especially those not wearing a mask."

The agency recommended people make their voting process as efficient as possible by being organized ahead of time. Make sure you're registered to vote, check when and where you should vote, and plan how to get there in the safest possible way. Try to avoid crowded transport, and busy times at the polls.
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The CDC also suggests that you may want to have someone else look after your children while you vote, if you are their main caregiver at home, because "taking children with you to vote can increase their risk of getting COVID-19."

The World Health Organization recently applauded the US for its efforts to keep voting safe and sanitary during the pandemic.

"From what we observe, the early voting process seems to have been undertaken with great care with a lot of planning in terms of physical distance, wearing of masks, and special training of the people working in those centres," the WHO's executive director of health emergencies, Dr. Mike Ryan, told reporters last week.
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For more on how to cast your vote Tuesday, read Business Insider's top 5 tips for how to vote in person during the coronavirus pandemic.

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