This election protect yourself with a face shield and protect the vote

To help decrease some of the anxiety and fear voters have about voting in person, Shield the Vote was developed for those who must, or desire to, vote in person

People wait in line to vote in Decatur, Ga., Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

This election, many voters are concerned about voting in person due to the fear of coronavirus, preexisting medical issues, waiting in long lines, and other factors that could risk their health and safety. However, many voters are also concerned about mailing in their absentee ballot due to the Republican efforts to make voting by mail more difficult using the US Postal Service. No matter how you vote, the election on November 3 will be an election to decide the future of American democracy. 

To help decrease some of the anxiety and fear voters have about voting in person, Shield the Vote was developed for those who must, or desire to, vote in person. Shield the vote is a non-partisan educational and awareness campaign to encourage voters to physically protect themselves at the polls by wearing a face shield along with their mask in the 2020 election.

Read More: Democrats outnumber Republicans in Florida’s mail-in votes so far

The United States has seen more than 214,000 Americans deaths due to COVID-19 since March and sadly, that number rises each day. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has warned about an upcoming spike in COVID-19 this fall with the onset of cold and flu season coupled with mixed messaging and false information about mask wearing and social distancing. Because of the steady increase in COVID-19 deaths and millions more Americans contracting the virus and experiencing sometimes severe health effects, voters will have to decide how to exercise their constitutional right to vote in the midst of this health pandemic.  

In this Oct. 1, 2020, file photo, people cast their vote early in Chicago. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Shield the Vote and its partners, Verizon and Acushield, launched this historic campaign to distribute donated face shields around the country to help voters protect themselves as they go to the polls on November 3.

The CDC has shared that elections with only “in-person” voting on a single day are at higher risk for COVID-19 spread because there will be larger crowds and longer wait times. Six states do not offer pre-Election Day in-person voting options: Connecticut, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Many states have implemented early voting efforts and unusually long lines and crowds are expected this election season. If you are curious as to whether your state has early voting and what the laws are pertaining to voting by mail, go to the National Council of State Legislatures to find out the specifics of your state.

Shield the Vote founder Onida Coward Mayers stated, “For over 18 years, I have been at the forefront of analyzing voter trends and needs.  Educating voters to be safe while voting in a pandemic is a necessary and we must all come together to help all voters go to the polls while safely protecting themselves.” 

Voters In 14 States Head To The Polls On Super Tuesday
Signage outside of a polling location at Wollaston School on March 3, 2020 in Quincy, Massachusetts. 1,357 Democratic delegates are at stake as voters cast their ballots in 14 states and American Samoa on what is known as Super Tuesday. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

If you visit www.shieldthevote.com you have the option to donate, purchase, or apply for a face shield. You may donate face shields and help voters to feel empowered to go to the polls with an extra layer of protection. You may purchase shields for a specific organization and have them shipped directly to you. Or you can apply for face shields to distribute at a qualifying non-partisan community event (limited supplies available).

Shield The Vote encourages the use of face shields, along with masks, while in the polling location and will distribute these donated shields to empower voters to gear up and go to the polls to exercise their right to vote. Targeted voters will include senior citizens, disenfranchised communities, and first-time voters.

Read More: Avalanche of early votes is transforming the 2020 election

It is important to note that anyone can donate face shields through www.shieldthevote.com and select if they want them for themselves or if they want it to be donated.  Donations are then shipped to organizations who agree to distribute in their communities at non-partisan events.

We know that this election is one of the most important of our lifetime. This fact cannot be overstated. We must develop a voting plan for ourselves, our family members, and members of our community. In order to make your voice heard on November 3 and feeler safer in the process, go to www.shieldthevote.com to donate, purchase, or apply for a face shield in order to vote in person on election day.

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, political editor at The Grio, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream”, and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC. You can find her at @Dr_CMGreer on Twitter.

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