Masks, gloves and plastic shields: What voting during a pandemic looks like across Texas

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Voters cast ballots in booths spread six feet apart at the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center for the delayed primary runoff election in Houston. Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Like everything else in 2020, the primary run off election is different, altered by COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, the runoff election date was pushed back seven weeks, from May 26 to July 14. Because of health concerns, counties have devised new protocols to try and ensure the safety of voters and poll workers alike. They are enforcing social distance in lines and between voting machines — and providing protective shields and finger cots.

The lessons learned today will serve as a dress rehearsal for a high-stakes Election Day in November. To get a feeling for that, and for how things went in this unusual runoff, we sent photographers out to various polling locations around the state. Here’s some of what they saw.

Frannie Griffin submits her ballot at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas for the state’s runoff elections on Tuesday.

Frannie Griffin submits her ballot at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas for the state’s runoff elections on Tuesday. Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

A sanitation station is positioned at the entrance of a polling site at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas on July 14.
A sanitation station is positioned at the entrance of a polling site at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas on July 14. Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

A polling site at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas.
A polling site at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas. Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

First: A sanitation station at the entrance of a polling site at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas. Last: A polling site at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas.

Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

Voters check in with poll workers seated behind glass shields at the Metropolitan Multiservices Center in Houston for the delayed primary runoff election on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
Voters check in with poll workers seated behind glass shields at the Metropolitan Multiservices Center in Houston for the delayed primary runoff election on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Voters, wearing masks and spread six feet apart, line up outside the Metropolitan Multiservice Center in Houston to vote in the delayed primary runoff election on Tuesday July 14, 2020.
Voters, wearing masks and spread six feet apart, line up outside the Metropolitan Multiservice Center in Houston to vote in the delayed primary runoff election on Tuesday July 14, 2020. Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

First: Voters check in with poll workers behind barriers at the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in Houston for the delayed primary runoff election. Last: Voters, wearing masks and spread six feet apart, line up outside the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in Houston to vote on Tuesday.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Voters check in with poll workers behind barriers at the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in Houston for the delayed primary runoff election.

Voters check in with poll workers behind barriers at the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in Houston for the delayed primary runoff election. Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

People wait in 100 degree weatheto vote at the Pflugerville ISD Rock Gym on July 14, 2020.
People wait in 100 degree weatheto vote at the Pflugerville ISD Rock Gym on July 14, 2020. Allie Goulding for The Texas Tribune

People enter a polling site at 7811 Rockwood Lane on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 in Austin.
People enter a polling site at 7811 Rockwood Lane on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 in Austin. Allie Goulding for The Texas Tribune

First: People waited in 100-degree weather to vote at the Pflugerville ISD Rock Gym. Last: Voters enter a polling site in Austin.

Allie Goulding/The Texas Tribune

A voter uses an umbrella for protection from the sun. Voters waited in 100-degree temperatures outside the Pflugerville ISD Rock Gym on Tuesday.

A voter uses an umbrella for protection from the sun. Voters waited in 100-degree temperatures outside the Pflugerville ISD Rock Gym on Tuesday. Allie Goulding for The Texas Tribune

The Southpark Meadows polling location on election day in Texas' primary runoffs and special elections on July 14, 2020.
The Southpark Meadows polling location on election day in Texas' primary runoffs and special elections on July 14, 2020. Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

A voter waits in line in Texas' July primary runoff and special elections at Zilker Elementary School in Austin.
A voter waits in line in Texas' July primary runoff and special elections at Zilker Elementary School in Austin. Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

Two voters take a selfie after voting in Texas' July primary runoffs at Zilker Elementary School on July 14, 2020.
Two voters take a selfie after voting in Texas' July primary runoffs at Zilker Elementary School on July 14, 2020. Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

Austinites casted their votes in the states' runoff election on Tuesday.

Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

Curbside voting Signs with buzzers outside the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in Houston.

Curbside voting Signs with buzzers outside the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in Houston. Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune