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Apprehension about coronavirus prompts officials to close Chicago polling places at nursing homes

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Amid growing concerns about the coronavirus, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has opted to close designated polling places inside nursing homes for Election Day.

The city made the decision after hearing from city nursing home workers, who worried about the safety of their residents, said elections board spokesman Jim Allen.

“We’re concerned anytime we have to change a polling place,” he said.

Older adults have a higher risk of getting infected and being seriously harmed by the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New confirmed cases of the virus continue to be reported, including Friday evening when Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that a Chicago Public Schools worker tested positive for the virus.

Allen said the board has not yet determined the replacement sites.

“In the meantime, we’re urging voters who had nursing homes to use early voting or vote by mail,” Allen said.

Election Day will be March 17. The primary elections will determine the major party nominees who will appear on the ballot in November for various offices, including president, U.S. senator and U.S. representative, as well as judicial and statehouse candidates.

Voters can apply for mail-in ballots through March 12. Ballots were sent out on or about Feb. 28, and must be postmarked and sent back by Election Day on March 17 in order to be counted.

Here’s a current list of all polling locations.


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