As COVID-19 cases continue to increase around the country, there are concerns about how safe it is for Americans to head to the polls to cast their vote in the upcoming election.
The U.S. reported 52,774 new cases on Saturday. The 14-day average of new cases per day has increased by 28% from two weeks ago.
During an appearance on CBS News’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, was asked how safe it is for Americans to vote in person.
“I think it’s possible to protect yourself, but you’re going to need to take precautions,” Gottlieb said. “The biggest risk is the setting where we let our guard down. And when you talk to the governors about where the spread is occurring, it’s occurring in congregant settings where people feel more comfortable.”
He continued, “I think when you go out to vote, the voting places are taking precautions. They’re sequencing people carefully. They’re cleaning the voting stations in between votes. Their lines are going to be long, but they’re going to take precautions inside those settings. And I think when people go out to vote, if they wear a high-quality mask, they can adequately protect themselves.”
“I think you can vote safely even in places with high prevalence, but you’re going to need to be careful,” he added.
Watch the video below:
#Voting in a pandemic: “I think you can vote safely even in places with high prevalence” of #COVID19, @ScottGottliebMD tells @margbrennan ahead of #electionday, urging the importance of protecting yourself with high-quality masks. pic.twitter.com/Hs41RTBkzj— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) October 18, 2020
As the coronavirus spread throughout the country, a majority of Americans said they believe states should allow residents to cast their vote by mail without a documented reason.
A poll conducted by Pew Research Center in June found that 65% of respondents said they believe Americans should be able to vote by mail without a documented reason.
Additionally, a separate Pew study found that 50.3% of all votes cast in the 2020 primaries were cast by mail — up from 27.4% in 2018 and 24.9% in 2016 — showing just how much more widespread mail-in voting has become.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly encouraged Americans to vote in person and argued, “If you can protest in person, you can vote in person.”