The Atlantic

A Primary? In a Pandemic?

Voting is the opposite of social distancing. But Americans in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois are still heading to the polls.
Source: Jayme Gershen / Bloomberg via Getty

Americans are supposed to be avoiding one another right now. But they’re still convening at the polls.

Hundreds of thousands—maybe even millions—of voters in Arizona, Illinois, and Florida today will grasp the same door handles, drag their fingers across the same touch-screen voting machines, and wait in long lines with dozens of other people as they participate in the next series of primary contests.

All three of these states have reported multiple cases of the coronavirus, making the elections today a major health risk, says Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “When you bring people together in close proximity for extended periods of time, that is where you see explosions of disease,” she told

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