Poll worker in Chicago dies due to COVID-19, voters are warned


  • Chicago voters have been warned by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners through a letter about a possible exposure to coronavirus after a poll worker tested positive and died on April 1.
  • Reyall Burke, the 60-year-old poll worker who died, was designated at the Zion Hill Baptist Church on March 17 during the state primary voting.
  • The Chicago election officials criticized Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker for proceeding with the elections but the governor told the Tribune that he does not have the authority to suspend it.

Reports said that primary voters from Chicago have been warned by election authorities about a possible exposure to COVID-19 after a poll worker’s death due to coronavirus and a voter’s contagion.

Revall Burke, the 60-year-old poll worker who died, was designated during the elections at the Zion Hill Baptist Church on March 17. WMAQ reported that on April 1, just two weeks later, he passed away due to COVID-19.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the voters who cast ballots at four locations citywide in last month’s Illinois primary are being notified by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners through a letter.

The station in Zion Hill reported that letters will now be cascaded to all poll workers near Burke’s station, resident voters, field investigators and cartage company employees.

“Although the Board took every precaution possible by supplying poll workers with hand sanitizers, gloves and instructions for wiping down the equipment, the fact remains that an individual who has now tested positive voted at the same Polling Place,” the letter stated.

The station likewise reported that voters or poll workers at three other locations in Chicago will be notified that a voter there was COVID-19 positive.

Board of Elections spokesperson Jim Allen told WMAQ, “We’re letting voters and poll workers know as soon as we have confirmed a coronavirus case… We’re doing our best to learn from this and move forward.”

On March 21, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker released a stay-at-home order statewide, just four days after the primary voting. According to the Tribune, Chicago election authorities criticized the move to proceed with the election, but the governor claimed he did not have the legal authority to suspend it.

On Monday, Pritzker said he now intends to make mail voting more available to the Illinois’ residents for the general election in November. “We were encouraging people not to go to the polls if they could avoid going to the polls.”

Burke was an ex-Marine and a father of six. His brother Nathaniel Burke told Patch.com that he had diabetes but he maintained himself in good condition.

“It happened so fast… He wasn’t in the hospital for 12 hours, and they said his kidneys shut down. Just like that, he was on life support. It freaked the whole family out,” Nathaniel Burke told the website.

Burke’s son, Malcolm, told the Patch.com he last talked to his father on March 22 — a day before he brought himself to the hospital for having flu-like symptoms.

Source: New York Post

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