Getting Answers: What to do if you’re waiting for COVID-19 test results, but need to vote in-person

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(WKOW) — Early voting in Wisconsin has wrapped up, which means voters only have the option to vote in-person on election day. But what should voters do if they are waiting for COVID-19 test results, in quarantine, or have been diagnosed with the virus?

“Voting is really, really important,” UW Health Doctor Jeff Pothof said. “But at the same time, so is the health and safety members of our community.”

He suggests for voters who need to vote in-person, but are waiting for COVID-19 test results, to be extra cautious.

“If you have a COVID test that’s pending, you need to assume that you’re positive until you get a negative result.” Dr. Pothof said.

“So there is no difference between having COVID and being in that situation where you’re waiting for your test to come back positive. Those those two different people need to act exactly the same way as it pertains to their precautions they need to isolate in their home wear mask, avoid contact with other people.”

Pothof said if a voter knows he or she has tested positive for COVID-19, they should not be going into the polls for any reason.

“If you’re COVID positive, that changes the whole game, then the risk is unreasonable for you to be going to the polls,” Dr. Pothof said.

Curbside voting will be an option at polling sites on election day. Poll workers can check voter identifications through the car window and bring ballots directly to the car of a voter. Poll workers will be taking the necessary COVID-19 safety precautions with personal protective equipment and masks.

If a person is in quarantine or in the hospital with the coronavirus, becoming a hospitalized voters is also an option.

“You can appoint somebody as your agent to run between where you are and the clerks office to get your absentee ballot,” Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl said.

The city said hospitalized voters are a part of every election, however, with an increase in coronavirus cases, they are expecting to see it utilized more.

This option runs through 5pm on election day.


 UW Health officials are offering tips on staying safe while voting in person during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth while voting and waiting in line to vote.
  2. Wash your hands before and after you leave the polling place.
  3. While waiting in line, use hand sanitizer especially after touching shared surfaces like voting machines or door handles.
  4. Cover your cough or sneeze with the inside of your elbow or a tissue, even if wearing a mask.
  5. Maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing. Lines might be longer but avoid gathering or crowding.
  6. Dress warmly if you expect to be in outdoor lines.
  7. To avoid crowds, try to vote during “off-peak” hours like mid-morning if possible.
  8. As ever, it is not recommended for a person to leave the house if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
  9. If you are hospitalized and unable to vote in person, you may receive assistance in voting absentee.
  10. If you have COVID-19 symptoms but have not tested positive or been required to   isolate, voting curbside at your polling place may be an option. For more information, call your municipal clerk’s office.

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