Quarantined, sick voters can go to polls on Tuesday, CDC and DPH say

Gwinnett County voters wait in lines to cast their early ballots at the Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center in Norcross, Georgia on the last day of early voting on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Lucky Shoals Park advance voting site has not had power at all Thursday morning and continued to be without power until around noon. A generator has been used to support the laptops and BMDs. (Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)
Gwinnett County voters wait in lines to cast their early ballots at the Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center in Norcross, Georgia on the last day of early voting on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Lucky Shoals Park advance voting site has not had power at all Thursday morning and continued to be without power until around noon. A generator has been used to support the laptops and BMDs. (Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Voters have the right to vote even if they are sick or under quarantine for COVID-19, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency indicated that all persons who are sick or under quarantine should inform poll workers of their condition on arrival at the polling location.

They should also take the proper precautions including wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others and washing hands or using hand sanitizer before and after voting.

ExploreCDC guidelines for voting while quarantined or sick

“CDC’s recommendations for isolating someone who has COVID-19 or quarantining someone who was in close contact with a person with COVID-19 would not preclude them from exercising their right to vote," said CDC spokesman Jason McDonald in a statement Sunday to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The statement was prompted by questions surrounding Gov. Brian Kemp’s ability to vote after placing himself under quarantine. Kemp, who has tested negative for the virus, had previous contact with a U.S. representative who tested positive.

ExploreCDC: Gov. Kemp, other voters under quarantine can go to polls Tuesday

“Gov. Kemp would be able to vote in person while wearing a mask, and maintaining at least 6 feet between election workers and other voters, and washing or sanitizing his hands before and after voting,” said McDonald. “We also recommend that Gov. Kemp let poll workers know that he is in quarantine when he arrives at the polling location.”

Officials did suggest anyone who is ill or possibly exposed to the virus might consider making alternative arrangements to in-person voting though it was unclear how this could be accomplished just days before the election.

“Where possible, alternative voting options should be made available for those with COVID-19, those who have symptoms of COVID-19, and those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19,” McDonald said. “These alternative voting options should minimize contact between poll workers and voters.”

On Sunday, the Georgia Department of Public Health announced it had updated its protocols for isolation and quarantine during COVID-19 to allow individuals to vote in person Tuesday. The health agency said the protocols are in accordance with recommendations and guidance from the CDC on Sunday.

The guidelines reflect those issued by the CDC. The DPH update also noted that poll workers should minimize contact with voters and follow respiratory protection guidelines including wearing a mask and gloves, staying at least 6 feet away from others and washing their hands or using hand sanitizers frequently.

“Following the prevention steps," the DPH statement indicated, “will help to ensure voters can safely exercise their right to vote while protecting others at polling locations.”

ExploreMore questions and answers about voting in Georgia

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