Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor for the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, said this week that he sees “no reason” Americans should avoid voting in-person as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.
“I think if carefully done, according to the guidelines, there’s no reason that I can see why that not be the case,” Fauci said of in-person voting during a National Geographic event that aired Thursday. “If you go and wear a mask, if you observe the physical distancing, and don’t have a crowded situation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do that.”
Fauci cited the social distancing guidance at some grocery stores that have placed an “X” every six feet or so where the checkout line forms, as well as signs directing customers to remain on their “X” until the person ahead of them has advanced.
However, those who would be in danger if exposed to the coronavirus because of health issues are better off voting by mail, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director said.
“I mean, obviously if you’re a person who is compromised physically or otherwise, you don’t want to take the chance,” Fauci said. “There’s the situation of mail-in voting that has been done for years in many places. So there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to vote in person or otherwise.”
Fauci previously declined to specifically endorse mail-in voting, which President Trump has warned could result in election fraud if large swaths of the population voted by absentee ballot over coronavirus fears.
In April when coronavirus cases first began to spread at an alarming rate in several major cities, Fauci said that while he hoped in-person voting would be safe by November, he “can’t guarantee it.”
The U.S. has seen more than 5.2 million coronavirus cases since the outbreak began, and more than 166,000 people have died after being infected.