Despite COVID Massachusetts Offers No Safe Way to Vote

September 07, 2022

Yesterday I woke-up with a suspicious cough. Despite having already been infected and triple vaccinated, my COVID test came back positive. Yesterday was also Election Day and I had not voted yet. I was traveling during the usual early and absentee ballot window. Suddenly I was forced to ask: “how do I vote if I have an active COVID infection?”

First I called the City of Boston Elections Department. The woman at the phone listening to my query and told me to not vote. There was no provision for me to vote safely. I was shocked. I then called the Secretary of the Commonwealth and asked the same question. I was told I was not the first one, but that all the emergency provisions related to COVID expired. There was no legal way for me to safely vote. The gentleman on the phone suggested I wait until things are less busy, mask up, and vote then. I did that, but did not feel great about it.

Two years into COVID we are pretending it is gone. Rather than using the new tools and changes we developed in 2020 to reduce the spread, we are back to old habits and ignoring it. I do not think we need to stop visiting friends and family or taking trips, but whether it is making sure we can vote on Election Day or providing sick leave for folks that are spreading, a lot of the great ideas from 2020 seem to have expired.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.