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Coronavirus Worries? Bring Your Own Pen To Vote In Mass. On Super Tuesday

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin said voters who are concerned about the coronavirus can bring their own pen to vote in the presidential primary on Super Tuesday.

Galvin said there have been some "unusual" concerns ahead of Tuesday's Election Day in Massachusetts. Among them is voters voicing concern about the spread of germs as they go to cast their ballot.

"Obviously we do not think it is a reason for people not to vote, but it has led to some concerns that are quite legitimate," said Galvin.

Galvin said local officials have been advised they should have extra personnel available because it is possible some election workers may not want to work. Towns and cities have also been told they should plan to regularly clean voting compartments to prevent the spread of germs.

"We also have recognized that the one common piece of equipment that might be used is the pen," said Galvin. "So we're suggesting local election officials have extra pens, replace the pens, but also allow and encourage voters who might be concerned to bring their own pen."

There is one caveat to bringing pens to the ballot box. Anyone voting with their own pen should make sure it does not have red ink because the ballot machines cannot read that kind of ink.

Anyone who is unable to vote because they are self-quarantined due to potential coronavirus exposure will be allowed to cast an absentee ballot despite having missed the deadline. Those people will be treated as someone who can't vote on Election Day because they have been admitted to the hospital.

"I think it's important we recognize the legitimate concerns people might have," said Galvin regarding Super Tuesday coronavirus concerns.

Another issue that came up is candidates who dropped out of the race, including Pete Buttigieg, who suspended his campaign Sunday night.

Galvin said 230,000 ballots that were cast during early voting are final, even if the candidate selected dropped out. A total of 70,000 absentee ballots were submitted. They can be retrieved in the morning if possible, though Galvin said it can be a challenging process.

Massachusetts is one of 14 states voting on Tuesday in the presidential primary.

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