CHICAGO (CBS) — Following the death of a poll worker from COVID-19, a woman who manned the polls as a judge and administrator questions if more could have been done to keep those working during early voting and the primary safe.
She was also infected with the virus. She spoke to CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot.READ MORE: Chicago Police Officers Refusing To Report Vaccine Status Expected To Protest Outside Police Headquarters Tuesday
When asked what she thought after hearing that a poll worker died from COVID-19, Shirley Walls was worried.
“I was thinking that could have been me,” Walls said.
She’s talking about the death of Revall Burke. Burke, a longtime poll worker and election judge died from COVID-19 in early April. He got sick, five days after working the primary.
It’s not clear where Burke contracted the virus.
“They should have shut the polling places down. He shouldn’t have had to lose his life,” Walls said.READ MORE: Mobile City Hall Bringing City Services To Little Village Tuesday
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said the decision to keep the polls open was out of his hands.
“I did not have that power and do not have the power to change the date of an election and that is what the issue was,” Pritzker said. “I instead encouraged everyone to vote early by mail.”
Walls worked as an election judge at the Palmer Park Field House, at the U of I Student Hall during early voting and at Jeffrey Manor Library during the primary.
She said she worked 15 days straight, going only from each polling place to her home. She was later diagnosed with COVID-19.
“You feel like you can’t breathe. You feel like someone is taking your breath away from you. You feel like you’re not going to wake up,” Walls said.
She has words of advice for anyone who is not taking COVID-19 seriously.MORE NEWS: Police Release Video Of Suspects Wanted In Death Of 18-Year-Old Azul De La Garza
“I just want to tell everybody to stay home! Stay home! They’re telling you this for a reason and a lot of people are not taking heed to it,” Wall urged. “Stay home. This thing is very real.”