The CDC recommendation for social distancing to contain the coronavirus comes at a time when many Americans are preparing to cast their ballots in upcoming primary elections. While voters’ health and that of their communities is paramount, the League of Women Voters still encourages voters to exercise their right to vote! There are many ways for voters to participate in elections while mitigating their risk of exposure.
Early and Absentee Voting
Some version of early voting and absentee voting, or vote-by-mail, is available in every state. For people in high-risk categories of the virus, the League of Women Voters encourages these voters to limit their exposure to crowds on Election Day. Even voters who are not high risk and want to do their part to curb the virus should consider these options. The more voters who cast their ballots early, the fewer long lines and crowds we will see on Election Day.
Local Board of Elections
If voters have missed their absentee ballot deadlines, they still may be able to vote without going to a busy polling place. Many local boards of election offices can support voters in casting a ballot in person and avoid busy polling places. Voters can find their local board of elections information on the League’s election website VOTE411.org and reach out to learn if this is an option where they live.
We are all familiar with crowds and long lines on Election Day, especially first thing in the morning, over lunch hours, and after work. Voters can limit their interaction with the public by planning to vote during non-peak hours, like the middle of the morning and afternoon.
The League’s nonpartisan election website VOTE411.org has everything voters need to find out their options for participating in early and absentee voting. VOTE411 will also have special alerts on primary election days highlighting any changes to normal voting procedures, including any last-minute changes to polling locations. The site is a personalized voting information hub where voters can check their registration, find their polling place, see what will be on your ballot, and more.
Report Any Problems
Voters who encounter problems while voting should report them to the Election Protection Hotline. Trained experts are prepared to talk voters through any issues.
1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)
1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)
No matter how you vote, the League of Women Voters wants to ensure everyone has the information they need to participate in our elections. For more specific questions about elections in your area or to get involved, reach out to your local League of Women Voters. We have more than 750 Leagues around the country.