October 22, 2020
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How to vote safely on the 2020 US presidential election

There’s only a few days between us and the upcoming election that will shape the future of our country. As nurse practitioners, you have a duty to raise your voices and let those in power know how you feel about their policies, their promises, and their actions. Voting is our best way to do that right now.

However, this election is (obviously) a little different than those that came before the novel coronavirus. There are some restrictions and guidelines that we need to follow. There are safety measures that we need to meet. How can we exercise our right to vote in the best way possible?

Today we take a look at what the experts are saying about voting. Safety is the most important thing right now. Let’s look at the various options we have and the most secure ways to carry out our civic duty!

Before voting, remember to confirm that you’re registered to vote.

Also, do some research on the political issues that might affect you directly as a nurse (go to the end of this article to see some websites that will help you with that).

Basic safety tips for going out to vote

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a large guide intended to inform the American people on the best ways to vote. As healthcare professionals, we should be the first ones to follow these guidelines (and inform others about them).

Some of the suggested ways of preventing infection are not up to us. They’re up to those who  work at the polls, as well as election officials. Nonetheless, voters also have a lot of responsibilities. Here are some of them:

Avoid voting lines by preparing your documents in advance

This suggestion might not be as easy to accomplish as the CDC says, but it is good to keep that in mind. There might be a line of people who also prepared their documents in advance, so we’re not sure it might keep us from getting close to people.

In any case, doing this will save you a lot of time. If you still find a queue when you go to vote, remember to practice social distancing.

Vote early or try to go to the voting station at off-peak times

Again, there’s bound to be a lot of people who will also try to take advantage of off-peak times to go and vote. However, there’s a chance you’ll find less people in the voting station. In any case, wear your face mask and bring some hand sanitizer.

Bring your own pen and stylus

Stylus is the name given to electronic pens, which allow you to write or click things in a touchscreen without using your fingers. It’s a great way to avoid touching surfaces, and they’re not very expensive. Click here to see 10 stylus options that will work for you.

Ways that you can vote without going to the polls

Since the pandemic is still not over, some people might consider voting options that allow them to stay home. There are two main ways to do that:

Voting by mail with an absentee ballot

Every state in the US offers you the chance to vote by mail with an absentee ballot. In fact, states are trying to make it easier for voters to cast this type of ballot because of COVID-19.

However, there are different rules for every state, so you’d have to do some research on this. Go to the Can I Vote page to choose your state and see which rules apply to you.

It is true that some states require an excuse to allow voters to cast an absentee ballot. These restrictions, nonetheless, might be lifted in some places because of the coronavirus.

Also, your state might send you an absentee ballot automatically (because of the pandemic). They might also send you a form that you’ll need to fill out to request one of these ballots.

Here are the main changes and policies that are now in effect for the 2020 election. These changes might only apply to this particular election.

It’s important to find out about the deadlines for you to request (or return) an absentee ballot. To do that, visit this website.

What if I receive an absentee ballot but want to vote in person?

Don’t worry. You can still go to the polls. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Take your absentee ballot to your designated voting place on Election Day. But first, find out where that is by clicking here.
  2. Exchange your absentee ballot for an in-person ballot. You can also complete your absentee ballot right there and give it to the poll workers.
  3. If you don’t have your absentee ballot with you, but you still went to polls, you can receive a provisional ballot.

You can also just return your absentee ballot. Learn how to do that by clicking here.

Early voting

Most states in the country allow for early voting, but what is that? Very simple. Early voting means voting before Election Day. You don’t need an excuse to do this.

Here are the different deadlines for early voting, organized by state. You will also find information there on which states allow for early, in-person voting.

To vote early you have to request an absentee ballot from your state.

Are there any elections coming up besides the presidential election?

Yes! You should also do your part and try to participate in other elections. Go to Ballotpedia to find out more about which elections are coming up (besides the presidential election).

Why are these elections important for nurses?

We are not just voting to choose a new president. We are also voting to choose political representatives that will shape the future of healthcare by enacting or reforming policies and legislation.

There are many political and healthcare issues that directly concern us as nurse practitioners. That is why it’s important for us to vote.

Want to learn more about the issues that might have an impact on nurses? Check out:

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