Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a former advisor to the Obama administration and an architect to the Affordable Care Act, encouraged voters to vote in person in November despite the ongoing pandemic, CNN reported Thursday.
Emanuel concluded that the relative risk of voting in person is low, largely due to social distancing measures implemented at polling places and the use of personal protective equipment including masks and hand sanitizer, CNN reported.
“There’s a lot of conversation about voting, but we looked at the data. It seems most like shopping at the grocery store. And that has some risk but it’s pretty low risk,” Emanuel said. (RELATED: ‘No Reason’ People Can’t Vote In Person Unless ‘Compromised Physically Or Otherwise,’ Dr. Fauci Says)
Emanuel pointed to how the virus’s spread can be halted by practices like wearing masks, and noted that grocery shopping has not led to any major outbreaks since the coronavirus pandemic began, CNN reported.
“There are ways and reasons to vote in person,” he said. “People should not fear for their lives by going out and voting. It’s a hell of a lot safer than going to a restaurant.”
While the pandemic forced many states to delay their primaries originally scheduled for early spring, states now have adopted a variety of strategies to best hold the November election amid an ongoing pandemic.
In Maryland, the state closed many of its smaller polling places and repurposed larger, open spaces into “voting centers,” while private organizations like the NBA have partnered with states to recruit poll workers and convert their arenas into large polling places that can accommodate socially-distanced in-person voters. (RELATED: Here’s Where The Presidential Race Stands In The Six Most Competitive States)
To Emanuel, the risk of in-person voting in November is minuscule compared to the risk of depressed turnout due to voters either staying home or a massive influx of mail-in ballots that could overwhelm the United States Postal Service, according to CNN.
“If the consequence of us not talking about [voting in person] is that turnout is low, that’s a bad thing,” he said.
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