On Tuesday, many Oklahomans will do something they’ve never done before: Cast a vote during a pandemic. For those voting in person, experts at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation have tips for staying safe while doing their civic duty.
1. Don’t skimp on the basics
Voters can make polling places safer for themselves and others by following the safety recommendations we’ve grown accustomed to: Wear a mask, stay at least six feet from others and practice good hand hygiene.
“Polling places have the potential to become ‘mass gathering’ sites,” said OMRF physician-scientist Eliza Chakravarty, M.D. “Although we’re tired of the rules, it’s critical that we take every precaution when in a place likely to become crowded.”
2. Hands-off high-touch surfaces
Door handles, the polling booth and even the pens provided to sign the voter roll or complete a ballot will see a lot of fingerprints on Nov. 3. And with Covid-19 cases surging in Oklahoma, voters should have high-touch surfaces at top of mind.
“Although the scientific consensus is now that surface contamination isn’t a primary mode of infection, don’t be shy about hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes at the polling place,” said OMRF President Dr. Stephen Prescott.
3. Timing is everything