Charles Thayer has manned the polls in Bangor, Maine, for 18 years. But when the doors open at the city’s sole polling place for the state’s July 14 primary, he won’t be there.

Thayer, 78, is staying home because his wife has a compromised immune system. “I would not take the risk of getting [COVID-19] myself and then giving it to her,” he said.

Thayer has company in his isolation: Bangor City Clerk Lisa Goodwin said at least a third of her city’s usual poll workers have said they won’t work upcoming elections. Others are willing only if the city can provide personal protective equipment — equipment not readily available everywhere. One 93-year-old wants to work, and Goodwin is fretting. “I would feel horrible if anything ever happened to her.”

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