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Voting During the Pandemic Considerations for Casting Your Ballot

September 17, 2020

COVID-19's detrimental impact has affected individuals, communities, businesses and organizations globally. From social distancing and working from home to not being able to dine indoors at your favorite restaurants or readily getting a professional haircut in certain states, almost everyone has felt the impact.

As a nation, we prioritized safety of our communities and shifted the way we work and do business. Now with U.S. presidential elections just a few weeks away, the way the American public votes is also going to change. While it is also important to consider our civic duty, it is equally important to cast our votes in a safe manner. As you and your employees consider safe voting options, we want to highlight what to expect and how you can vote during this unique election.

Generally, during voting season, you would set aside some time during your day to go to your polling location to submit your vote. However, considering that we are in the middle of a pandemic, various states are debating a complete mail-in voting program . This would prevent people from gathering at polling locations and allow them to receive their ballot by mail in the comfort and safety of their own home. As we get closer to the general election states will make their final decisions as to whether they will implement a complete mail-in voting system or allow for in-person voting. Even if your state ultimately does not implement a complete mail-in voting program, there may be the possibility for you to elect an absentee ballot or otherwise voluntarily vote by mail. This depends on your state and their election laws, but this may be a possibility if you do not feel comfortable voting in-person. Your vote is important, so if you feel you rather vote via an absentee or a mail-in ballot, you should ensure you complete your request within the fast approaching deadlines.

For those states that do not institute complete mail-in voting or where you are otherwise unable to participate in voting via mail, there are ways to reduce your exposure to COVID-19 when voting in-person. Be sure to follow safety protocols including wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, and socially distancing where possible. While wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer is second nature by now to some, social distancing may not be as easy depending on your local polling place. Even if your polling location does not mandate social distancing, we encourage you to maintain a six feet distance as recommended by CDC. Some states, such as FL, CA, NY, TX, and NV, also offer early voting. This may be an opportunity to vote in a safer environment reducing your risk of exposure to a larger crowd. To see if your state allows for early voting, click here.

While a lot has changed, the importance of your vote has not. If you are required to vote in-person, then take precautions on voting day to protect yourself and be safe. If you need further information as to the precautions your state is taking during election season, we encourage you to contact your Supervisor of Elections or local polling location to inquire.

This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.

This post may contain hyperlinks to websites operated by parties other than TriNet. Such hyperlinks are provided for reference only. TriNet does not control such web sites and is not responsible for their content. Inclusion of such hyperlinks on TriNet.com does not necessarily imply any endorsement of the material on such websites or association with their operators.

By Matt Slack

Legal Counsel, TriNet

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