The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people sick with the coronavirus and those quarantining after being exposed can safely vote in person if they follow the health agency’s recommendations.
“Voters have the right to vote, regardless of whether they are sick or in quarantine,” the CDC states on its guidance for polling locations and voters.
The CDC said voters who are sick or have been exposed should take the proper steps to protect poll workers and other voters from contracting the virus. Those basic steps include mask-wearing, staying at least 6 feet away from others and hand washing before and after voting.
In addition to those health measures, sick voters should let poll workers know about their condition when they arrive at the polling location and should minimize the amount of time they spend at the polls. Poll workers should be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields and gloves and trained to use the equipment.
The CDC said that, where possible, alternative voting options should be made available to those with COVID-19 and those who have been exposed to someone with the virus. That could include a designated voting site for those who are ill, extended hours or curbside voting.
“CDC’s recommendations for isolating someone who has Covid-19 or quarantining someone who was in close contact with a person with Covid-19 would not preclude them from exercising their right to vote,” a CDC spokesperson told CNN on Monday.
The guidance from the CDC comes as health officials for months have urged those who are infected or exposed to avoid crowds and quarantine for 14 days to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Long lines and crowds are expected on Election Day Tuesday as millions of Americans across the country cast their ballots amid the coronavirus crisis that appears to be worsening.
The U.S. is averaging more than 80,000 coronavirus cases per day and more than 800 deaths.
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