An open, and masked, letter to the voting community

| November 3, 2020 1:00 AM

This week, our community will be turning out in numbers to exercise their right to vote. It is one of the founding values of our nation - that each woman and man have a voice, and that they be unencumbered in their freedom to use it.

Yet when we as voters were stepping into our voting places around the community this week, we found an unforeseen impact to that right as a result of the current pandemic. If we consider the spread of COVID-19, these voting stations are unsafe for many.

Differing values have placed our community at odds with issues of mask mandates; and while we understand that our unique region requires a unique approach to how we manage our response to the pandemic, we find ourselves concerned for the health and well-being of our voters this week.

We are seeing voting stations where social distancing is not possible, people are waiting for extended periods of time in unventilated areas, poll supporters are unmasked and working in close proximity to one another, and dozens of people are entering and exiting throughout the day.

Tuesday promises to be even busier. The increased risk to potential voters and poll workers is a danger we should not underestimate in the face of recent increased infection rates in our county and surrounding counties.

We, as members of this community who have pledged to support the health of you and your families, implore you to consider this when you vote or if you are in a supporting role of voting activity: Wear a mask, distance where possible, sanitize frequently, and keep voting safe for everyone who would like to partake.

This letter is signed and supported by the following health professionals of our community:

LAURA ADAMS, ARNP

DR. KRISTIN ALGOE

MICHELLE ANDERSON, DNP

KRISTINE ARMSTRONG, LCSW

TABITHA BARRON, FNP

ERIN BASS, FNP

KIM BLEDSOE, manager, Sandpoint Women’s Health

BILL BRUCE, LCPC

DR. STEPHEN CHRISTENSEN

DR. LINDSAY CONNER

ANNE COX, FNP

CYNTHIA DALSING, NP

Dr. JADE DARDINE

CHRISTINA FISHER, DNP

CELESTE GRACE, DVM

DR. VINCENT HUNTSBERGER

JILL KAHN, LMFT

DR. PETER KELTERBORN

DR. JILLIAN KLAUCKE

DR. TOM LAWRENCE

JORDIN MCCLELLAN, RN

AMMI MIDSTOKKE, NTP

TATUM MILLER, LCPC

PATTI NICHOLSON, care coordinator

DR. HALEY ROSE

SHELLY RUSSEL, LPN

DR. MIKE SCHICKER

DR. JOHN SEAMAN

ARLENE SPINOSA, LCSW

PEGGY SULLIVAN, RN

AMANDA THOMAS, LAMFT

AMANDA THOME, DPT

DR. CLINTON THOME

ANDREA THOMSON, RN

BRIANNA THORESON, MSW, LCSW

AMY TOPP, director, Bonner Partners in Care

AMBER VILLELLI, COO, Kaniksu Health Services

ELLEN WASSIF, LCSW

JOE WASSIF, PhD

JENNY WEERHEIN, RN

PEGGY WERTH, RN