New Voting Option For People On Ebola Watch List

By Emily Trube | @KRLDEmily

DALLAS (KRLD) — Early voting has begun for the Nov. 4 Election, but around 100 Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital workers are unable to go to the polls.

They helped treat Dallas Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan — as well as co-workers Nurse Nina Pham and Nurse Amber Vinson — and are in isolation for 21 days, monitoring themselves to see if they develop symptoms of the virus.

Some are staying at home, while others are waiting out the monitoring period at Presbyterian. Either way, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says that they have signed agreements to not travel and to stay out of public places and areas.

“These healthcare contacts are in isolation and won’t go to a polling place until they are declared ‘Ebola free’ by the CDC and DHSH,” said Jenkins during this morning’s County Commissioners meeting.

For some of the healthcare workers, their “free and clear” date will come before Election Day. Others will not reach the end of their 21-day monitoring period until after Nov. 4.

Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole tells KRLD that for those who need to or want to, another option is available to them. The Texas Secretary of State’s office has launched a pilot program for military personnel, allowing them to vote by e-mail, rather than by mail.

“There were concerns about the transmission of items that were in their rooms and going through the mail, from hand to hand, to hand,” says Pippins-Poole.

A district judge would have to approve Dallas County using the electronic or e-mail voting program.

KRLD’s Emily Trube speaks to DalCo Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole

(Photo: Aul J. Richards/Getty Images)

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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