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People With COVID-19 Voting Is Peak 2020

"Ensuring that ill voters can vote while maintaining poll worker and voter safety will be essential," public health officials say.

Last updated on November 3, 2020, at 1:08 p.m. ET

Posted on November 3, 2020, at 12:22 p.m. ET

Robert Cohen / St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Diane Carroll of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners hands a ballot to a voter during curbside voting for COVID-19 positive people in St. Louis, Nov. 2, 2020.

Polling places nationwide have taken to curbside voting for people who have tested positive for COVID-19, a hallmark of an election held amid a pandemic.

CDC recommendations are for election workers to wear head-to-toe medical gear, not just masks and gloves, and to collect ballots through drive-through services or alternate locations for sick voters.

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In places like St. Louis, scenes of ballots being collected by suited-up election volunteers have caught people's eyes online.

Robert Cohen / St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Members of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners find ballots for COVID-19 positive people during curbside voting in St. Louis, Nov. 2, 2020.

"Ensuring that ill voters can vote while maintaining poll worker and voter safety will be essential to minimizing transmission without restricting voting rights," said a recent Monthly Mortality and Morbidity Report report on safe voting authored by CDC and Delaware public health scientists. The report found that most election volunteers understood guidelines for preventing infections, and that the overwhelming majority of voters in Delaware's primary did wear masks to polling places.

The St. Louis County, Missouri, drive-through was only announced on Monday. In states such as Iowa, Minnesota, and Tennessee, election officials are also touting such curbside service to voters.

On the last day of early voting in Hardin County, Iowa, more than 30 voters that utilized curbside voting identified as COVID-19 positive, according to Jessica Lara, the county's auditor. "I was blown away," Lara said, adding she expects even more people will use the service today.

If you're experiencing COVID-19 symptoms today, we encourage you to vote using our curbside service at your assigned polling place. When you arrive, let the elections official in the blue vest know you'd like to vote using curbside. Elections staff will then come assist you.

It's unclear how many COVID-19-positive Americans will try to vote today. The US approached 100,000 new cases a day last week, amid a nationwide surge in infections. More than 9.2 million people in the US had been infected with the coronavirus and more than 230,000 had died.

People recently diagnosed with COVID-19 who are in quarantine face big challenges in some states, the Washington Post recently noted. Deadlines for absentee ballots have ended in many states. Some like Texas require a doctor's signature for an emergency absentee ballot. Most states allow people to designate a caregiver to pick up emergency absentee ballots from election boards.

Lawsuits over counting curbside voting made news in Harris County, Texas, home to Houston, in the last week. A judge dismissed a lawsuit by Republican officials challenging votes counted this way on Monday.

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Correction: More than 230,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus. The death toll was misstated in a previous version of this story.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.