Voting in Person on Election Day? Here's What You Need to Know

2020 election day
We’ve already rounded up everything you need to know about registering to vote, what Chicago-area women are running for office, what women’s groups are saying about the Fair Tax Amendment (Vote Yes), as well as what some of us are doing to keep our eyes on a very singular prize, so the only thing left for you is casting your vote. If you aren’t one of the 40 percent of registered voters in Chicago who’s already voted, and you’re planning to visit the polls in person on Election Day, here are some tips on how to do so safely.
 
The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3. The state of Illinois has even made Election Day a holiday, meaning all government offices—and any private employers who opt-in—will be closed. If you live in Chicago, you can find your polling place here. Vote.org also has a polling place locator. If you have any problems while voting and need help, you can call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

You already know what to do 

The guidance for voting safely on Election Day includes many of the same habits we’ve all been practicing for months, with a few polling-place-specific tweaks. You can minimize your time inside the voting booth by reviewing or completing a sample ballot beforehand that you can refer back to. Sample ballots are available from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, the Cook County Clerk’s Office, your local election authority, or Ballotpedia.

To be safe while voting:

  • Wear a mask at all times
  • Stay at least six feet away from other people
  • Allow more distance between yourself and others if the area you’re in isn’t well ventilated
  • Avoid touching your mask or face
  • Sanitize or wash your hands before and after you enter your polling place
  • Ask a poll worker if you can use your own black ballpoint or felt-tipped pen for paper ballots, or your own stylus for touchscreen machines to sign and fill out your ballot. If they say no, use the items on hand and be sure to thoroughly sanitize your hands afterward.

We know it’s tempting, but don’t try this

Experts say not to try wiping down your voting machine, the provided pen or stylus, your ballot, or anything else you touch because it could damage the machine or interfere with your ballot accuracy. Sanitize yourself instead.

How poll workers are keeping themselves and voters safe

The CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health have issued COVID-19 guidance to elections officials that includes many of the same protocols we’ve all gotten used to, including:

  • Mask mandates
  • Clear signage marking what six feet of distance looks life
  • Safe-distancing of voting equipment
  • Swapping out of reusable materials for single-use alternatives
  • Cleaning and disinfecting tips for reusable items
  • Ventilation specifications

Voting guides are allowed (and we encourage them!)

Some of the voting guides we recommend:

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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Several of our fabulous Rebelles contributed to this piece.