How and where you can vote safely if you have COVID-19 symptoms on Election Day

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Election Day is next Tuesday and there are plans for voters with COVID-19 symptoms to cast their ballot safely in Shelby County.

The election commission staff say the process will be similar to what we’ve gotten used to at other businesses and that’s curbside service.

“It’s absolutely essential that everyone who wants to have their voices heard on November 3rd be allowed to do that,” said Steve Mulroy, University of Memphis law professor.

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This includes the almost 8,000 people in quarantine for COVID- in Shelby County. The latest health department report also shows about 2,887 active cases.

The Shelby County Election Commission has a plan to turn part of its operations center on Nixon Road into a curbside voting option.

RELATED: Special polling location for COVID-19 positive, symptomatic voters in Shelby County

Here’s how the process will work:

  • Voters must call 901-222-6843 to make an appointment for Election Day.
  • When you show up at your assigned time, you’ll call that same number and let a poll worker know you’re outside.
  • Make sure you have your photo ID ready because a poll worker will check this before giving you a paper ballot, not a provisional one.
  • After you mark your ballot, you’ll put it inside a validate ballot envelop and then give it back to the poll worker

“Then there’s also the additional public health benefit that we are containing community spread so the election is hopefully less of a super spreader event now that we’re providing this option for those people who may be positive or we think may be positive,” said Mulroy.

Up the Vote 901 found Rev. Earle Fisher said this option is good in theory but in reality, he said this option isn’t realistic for most people in black and brown communities.

He said these communities have been hit hardest by the pandemic and some of these voters don’t have access to a vehicle to get to the Nixon office which is right outside of Bartlett.

“We don’t have a good transit system and either way you wouldn’t want people taking public transit if they have COVID symptoms or they have COVID what you would hope is they would have access to something that’s a lot closer,” said Fisher.

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