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Ask The Expert: How Can I Vote Safely In The 2020 Election?

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People vote at an early voting site in Arlington, Virginia
Alexander Drago/REUTERS
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A bottle of hand sanitizer features an "I Voted" sticker on it at an early voting site in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago - RC251J95KMLJ

For more information about voting in Bexar County, check out TPR's voter guide.

This week on ask the expert, Dr. Berggren answers questions about voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

How can I vote safely?

Masks, social distance, respect the election officers, respect the voters, respect yourself. We really want people to prepare. And you can actually go to the Bexar County election website to get your individual sample ballot. And that'll allow you to get in and out a lot faster if you know exactly who you're voting for. And you can reduce your turnaround time at the voting machine from an average of six minutes down to three minutes. If you do that and if you come prepared, this’ll get more people in and out safely.

What if I have been exposed to COVID-19?

You shouldn't break quarantine to go vote. And in my opinion, you shouldn't vote curbside. If you're in quarantine, I would proceed as if you actually had the symptoms because you're considered a potentially infectious person. And we'd like potentially infectious people to be able to vote. And there is a mechanism for that. You call the election office, you say what the problem is. Then you identify a person that you're going to send down there to pick up your ballot and bring it to you so you can vote at home safely, not infect anybody, and send the ballot back.

Should I bring my own hand sanitizer?

Yes, that's always a good idea. Bring your own gloves, bring your own face mask, bring your own hand sanitizer — that will help. Everybody should know that our Bexar County officials have been extremely proactive. And they have really decked out the polling sites with a lot of that stuff. They have half a million pairs of gloves that they have procured. So if you can't bring your own gloves, there will be gloves for you there.

Guest: Dr. Ruth Berggren, infectious diseases specialist and director of the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at UT Health San Antonio; COVID-19 consultant for Bexar County and member of the City of San Antonio’s Health Transition Team

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

This interview was recorded on Monday, October 12.

Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon