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VERIFY: Yes, COVID-19 positive voters can cast their ballot in-person on Election Day

There are no laws in Georgia allowing election workers to deny someone the right to vote based on their health status

MACON, Ga. — As poll workers prepare to count ballots in Georgia's January 5 Senate runoff election, they also are working to keep voters who cast those ballots safe from COVID-19.

But, what happens if a voter tests positive for the virus and still needs to vote come Election Day? Can voters who have tested positive for the coronavirus still cast their ballot in person next Tuesday? We set out to verify. 

According to Chris Grant, a political science professor at Mercer University, there are no laws in Georgia allowing election workers to deny someone the right to vote based on their health status.

"The reality is we just have not had a pandemic like this until the modern era to make us rethink some of the voting laws about that," Grant said. 

The CDC also released guidelines in November, stating on their website, "voters have the right to vote, regardless of whether they are sick or in quarantine." 

So, we have verified that YES, voters who have tested positive for COVID-19 are allowed to vote in person. 

"We've received guidance from the Secretary of State's office on how to handle it and we're doing the best we can," said Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections chairman, Mike Kaplan.

If you're COVID-19 positive, Kaplan says to let them know in advance. 

Options are to contact your Board of Elections office, or have someone come with you to vote and ask them to contact the poll manager before you enter the polling location.

If you have tested positive, Kaplan says the state is requiring that you wear full personal protective equipment. 

"Which is gown, face masks, shield, gloves," Kaplan said. 

He says poll workers will not clear the polling location, but they will require at least 6 feet of distance around the COVID-19 positive voter. 

After they're done voting, Kaplan says they'll sanitize the area where that person was voting.

Kaplan says, so far, Macon-Bibb County has not had a voter show up at the polls and say they are COVID-19 positive. However, they have those precautions in place if it does happen. 

If you are COVID-19 positive now or are symptomatic on Election Day, you still have time to request an absentee ballot although the deadline to request an absentee ballot is Friday, Jan. 1 and it must be returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day. 

The CDC also says if you are voting in person and are COVID-19 positive to bring your own supplies including: masks, hand sanitizer, tissues, and a black ink pen. 


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