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Getting Answers: How to keep safe if you are voting in-person at the polls

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MADISON (WKOW) -- If you are working the polls or decide to vote in-person on Tuesday, doctors want to ensure you do a few things to keep safe.

UW Health Chief Quality Officer, Dr. Jeff Pothof said you should bring your own bottle of hand sanitizer and wash your hands as much as you can due to high touch points on ballots, papers, and pens. 

“Individuals will be touching something or handing something off that another person has touched,” Pothof said. “You’re going to need to practice good hand hygiene to avoid contaminating their hands and then possibly infecting themselves with the virus.” 

Pothof also highly recommends wearing a mask and staying at least six feet away from others. 

“There could be individuals who feel healthy, they feel that it is safe for them to go to the polling place,” Pothof said. “And we actually know that they can shed the virus just by talking.” 

Doctors are also encouraging you to find other ways to vote like sending in your absentee ballot while still practicing good hygiene and social distancing. 

“It’s really crucial that we find alternate means by which we can cast our vote, because otherwise we could see an uptick in Wisconsin in the spread of COVID-19, which would be a real problem for us,” Polof said.

Doctors also want you to know that you should try to wear a cloth face mask. They say medical and surgical masks should only be used by healthcare workers since they are directly working with patients who have COVID-19. 

“If all of a sudden the healthcare systems are competing with every individual in the U.S. for masks, healthcare providers won’t have them.” Polof said. “That would be a travesty.” 

If you have a question related to the COVID-19 pandemic, send us an email at

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Alyssa Hui


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