Kira Larner and Indrani Basu wrote to us today about how US election workers risked their health to conduct elections in the midst of the epidemic:
On November 5, two days after election day, an employee of the Board of Election Office in Ondaga County went home very early. According to Election Commissioner Dustin Jajarni, he felt tired and assumed that the long transfer would be to blame.
A week later he was admitted to the hospital, tested for Covid-19 and learned that he had contracted the virus. Unbeknownst to the other workers at the time, the virus had spread to the office where workers were working long shifts to count the missing ballots before the New York Certificate deadline. A total of 200 staff and volunteers were sent home on November 13 to count the missing ballots and were instructed to test. In total, 12 employees tested positive.
“Before Friday the 13th, we were almost all in the office last week,” Journey said. “Of course it all happened on Friday the 13th.”
Jazari and other commissioners closed their offices and counted the votes for a week, telling New York that they would miss the Nov. 28 certification deadline. Jazari said he hoped to avoid the crisis as the epidemic conducted elections in the midst of an epidemic.
“That’s what we feared and it happened,” he said.
For local election officials, the 2020 election battle was guaranteed. A record number of voters requested absentee ballots due to the Kovid-1p epidemic, forcing election administrators to adapt to unprecedented elections. Officers had to recruit additional staff, find warehouses and other places to store ballots, and acquire protective equipment to ensure their staff were healthy and safe.
Despite their best efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, in most cases the connection to election day is unclear, dozens of poll workers and election officials across the country have tested positive for Covid-19. According to a Vobit analysis of local reports, there were 19 Kovid incidents among election workers at at least nine counters in five states before election day, and at least 24 county election workers in 14 states reported positive incidents between days and weeks.
These lawsuits represent only those who received media coverage and could look for an election campaign. The actual number of such cases is probably much higher due to the severity of the virus.
Read the report by Kira Larner and Indrani Basu here: US election workers risk their health to conduct elections amid epidemic