In the days before nursing homes and long-term care facilities were in a state of perpetual lockdown, Election Day was an event. Older Pennsylvanians, among the state’s most dedicated voters, strolled into the lobby of the facility where they lived or hopped on a shuttle to a polling place. Others voted absentee and slipped their ballots into the mail, little worry about backlogs or delays.
Today, Pennsylvania’s nursing homes, where the coronavirus took thousands of lives and turned the world upside down, are no longer polling places. Many facilities require those who leave the building to quarantine upon return, and some still don’t allow visitors, such as loved ones who could help a resident fill out a ballot or put it in the right envelope.