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Medical opinion: Will it be safe to vote in person amid COVID-19 pandemic?

SAQ: Dr. Ruth Berggren from UT Health answers your COVID-19 questions

SAN ANTONIO – Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Greg Abbott pushed Texas’ May primary runoff election to July 14 in order to avoid large gatherings and slow the spread of the virus. But with no end in sight and election day approaching, viewers want to know:

SAQ: Will it be safe to vote in person during the July runoff and the November election?

Doctor Ruth Berggren with UT Health and the city’s transition team doesn’t think that would be wise.

“I vote regularly and I stand in line with everybody else. And I think that sometimes the lines are long,” Berggren said. She believes it will be very hard to maintain social distancing and keep people six feet apart not just in line but also in the voting areas. Berggren says the voting booths themselves are only separated by dividers.

Berggren says the computers used to cast ballots are high-touch areas and may be hard to sanitize between each usage in a timely manner.

“I think that without a major overhaul of the setup it’s going to very hard to [vote in person] safely,” said Berggren.

One option Berggren says would be best in this situation is mail-in ballots. This as Texas moves to ease restrictions on who can vote by mail.

Watch Dr. Berggren’s full interview on the News at 9 below.

Find more answers and ask your own questions on our SAQ page. Watch anchor Steve Spriester ask local leaders your questions weeknights at 6 p.m. on KSAT12 and 9 p.m. on KSAT-TV and KSAT.com. You can also sign up for our free SAQ newsletter to get answers to the most common questions in your inbox.


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