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How to Vote in Your Primary During the COVID-19 Outbreak

I ain't afraid of no votes!

"I Voted" stickers cover a table at a polling station

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought everyday life to a screeching halt. Air travel is banned, schools and workplaces are closed, and everyone is encouraged to stay at home and practice social distancing. And if you’re a responsible citizen who has committed to staying away from crowds, you’re likely wondering: how the hell am I going to vote in my state’s primary election?

First off, for the latest information you can visit Vote.org, which has up to date information for every primary. The ACLU website lists all the state’s vote by mail dates, and how/where to get an absentee ballot.

The smartest, safest thing to do right now is to register to vote by mail, if you still are able to. Check out VoteSaveAmerica.com for more information on registering, finding a polling place, and how to vote:

Voting early is also a good option:

While about half of the U.S. states and territories have already held their primaries, there are millions of people who have yet to cast their vote. And because we as a country are barely getting it together to prevent the spread of the virus, it’s all but assured that the people in charge have zero idea how to ensure safe, fair, and accessible voting.

Louisiana has postponed their April 4th primary by two months, pushing it to June 20th. Georgia has pushed their March 24th primary to sometime in May. Both decisions were reached by bipartisan agreement. Meanwhile, Tuesday’s primaries in Ohio, Illinois, Florida, and Arizona will continue as planned.

Secretaries of State from those listed above have been updating voting information via social media. The currently encourage voters to either vote early or vote by mail, and have expanded curbside drop-off absentee voting. They are also increasing the number of hand sanitizer stations at polling places, and making efforts to keep the voting machinery clean. But so far, officials are not extending voting hours or offering any sort of additional assistance. In addition, states are putting out the call for younger, healthier poll workers, as the average age skews older.

In Ohio, officials have moved polling places that are in close proximity to large populations of older people. In Arizona, they’ve closed one third of voting locations in Maricopa County. You can watch election director Scott Jarrett melt down in real time.

Many people have signed an online petition urging DNC Chair Tom Perez and the Secretaries of State of Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Georgia to extend mail-in voting and to reschedule the March primaries. The letter has been signed by several doctors and healthcare professionals.

The best thing to do is to stay calm, stay safe, and make a voting plan for yourself. You got this.

(via New York Times, image: LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.