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Experts team up to outline best practices for safe in-person voting

Experts are offering guidance on how people can cast a ballot safely in person.DON EMMERT

Mail-in balloting — and Republican President Donald Trump’s opposition to it — have taken center stage recently.

But many Americans, for whatever reason, are likely to go to the polls in person Nov. 3 instead of casting their votes by mail.

So experts from the Brennan Center for Law and Justice at New York University have teamed up with the Infectious Disease Society of America to issue recommendations for safe in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is lots of work to be done to make sure polling places across the country are safe come November,” Hannah Klain, a fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post introducing the guidelines.


The guidelines recommend everything from relocating polling places out of elder care facilities to making sure hand sanitizer is available to checking poll workers for symptoms before they come to work.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s spokeswoman Debra O’Malley said the office has been working with local election officials to ensure healthy voting, and the office’s guidelines were generally the same as the ones suggested by the Brennan Center.

“We’re going to make it as safe as possible,” she said.

The secretary of state’s office received guidance from a federal-state working group and incorporated guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before crafting a Massachusetts-specific plan, she said.

While the office has been issuing general guidance to city and town officials on an ongoing basis, she said, it is awaiting approval soon from the state Department of Public Health on “one final go-to document that compiles everything and is very specific.”

She noted that in-person early voting is about to begin Saturday in the primary elections.

“Many voters are used to voting in person and will not be willing or able to vote by mail. These voters need healthy in-person voting options this year,” Klain wrote in the blog.


“No voter should have to choose between their safety and their fundamental right to vote in November — and with the right policies, planning, and practices in place they won’t have to,” Klain wrote.

Martin finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.