Voting Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has many people rightly worried about going out to vote in primary elections. But we can’t let this situation silence our voices — if anything, this crisis magnifies the need for accountable leadership that is responsive to the needs of our communities.
We want you to participate in the political process and stay safe and healthy. Here are ways to do both.
The safest way to vote right now is to vote by mail (also called absentee voting).
- All states offer some form of voting by mail. Many states with upcoming primaries are expanding their vote-by-mail options or automatically mailing all registered voters an absentee ballot during the pandemic. For other states, you may need to request you absentee ballot.
- Alaska, Arizona, California, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming do not require an excuse to vote by mail. Alabama, Delaware, Indiana, Virginia, and West Virginia are allowing n0-excuse vote-by-mail for 2020 primary elections. That means you can — and should — request your absentee ballot right now >>
- Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas do require an excuse to vote absentee. However, many states include illness, disability, childcare, caregiving for a relative, or school or work commitments as excuses. If you fit into any of the allowable excuse categories, we recommend you request your absentee ballot >>
- Colorado, Oregon, and Washington only vote by mail. Every registered voter receives a ballot in the mail. You do not have to request an absentee ballot in those states.
- Alaska, Hawaii, and Wyoming are voting entirely by mail for the 2020 presidential primary. We expect other states will follow, we will keep this space updated.
If you can’t vote by mail, try to vote early.
- Early voting allows you cast your vote in person when there are fewer crowds and lines. Many states have some period of early voting (sometimes called in-person absentee voting).
- You do not need an excuse to vote early, you only need to go to an early voting location when it is open to cast your ballot.
- Even if you avoid crowds, you should follow COVID-19 hygienic procedures including washing your hands before and after voting, wiping down any voting equipment you use before and after you use it, and maintaining a six-foot distance from poll-workers and other voters.
- See if your state offers early voting, and when those dates are >>
If you vote on election day, follow COVID-19 hygienic procedures.
- Try to vote at a time of day when your precinct is less likely to be crowded. This is often early morning or mid-afternoon.
- Maintain a six-foot distance from other voters and pollworkers, including if you’re waiting in line to vote.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds before and after voting. Use an alcohol based hand-sanitizer if you can’t wash your hands right away.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Wipe down any polling equipment you use before and after you use it with anti-bacterial wipes.
- Some polling places will offer curb-side voting, where you can vote from your car. Call your county election administrator ahead of time to see if they offer curbside voting.