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Face shields, gloves, wipes: Texas votes as virus rages

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Face shields, gloves, wipes: Texas votes as virus rages

PLANO, Texas (AP) — As coronavirus cases skyrocket in Texas, Regina Greenwell showed up to vote Monday bent on minimizing the risks.

She wore a mask, which are not required in Texas, where the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations have more than tripled in the last month. She scoped out the line from her car to game how long she would be indoors. She brought her own pen but inside was a touchscreen system with disposable latex finger guards for voters to use.

“We’d like to make it to the November election,” said Paul Greenwell, her 70-year-old husband.

Three months after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott postponed primary runoffs to July 14 — saying at the time that sticking to the original May election “would threaten the health and safety of many" — Texas is voting at a moment when the outbreak is far more dire. Confirmed coronavirus cases quadrupled in June, Houston hospitals are filling up and Abbott is retreating from one of America’s swiftest reopenings by shuttering bars and scaling back restaurant service.

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The result is that at a moment when Abbott is urging the public to stay home, thousands are starting to go to the polls.

And by the looks of it, even more are still going to the gym: At the Carpenter Park Recreation Center in Plano, a polling location outside Dallas, most of the steady lunchtime traffic heading in on the first day of early voting were there to work out, not cast a ballot. "It’s a joke,” said Gilbert Hernandez, 52, who arrived to vote in the Democratic primary with his family, all of whom wore masks. “The way […]

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