Unusual

In Era of Sickness, Doctors Prescribe Unusual Cure: Voting

Dr. Alister Martin starts his commute to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he has created a kiosk to register patients to vote. (Tony Luong/The New York Times)
Dr. Alister Martin starts his commute to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he has created a kiosk to register patients to vote. (Tony Luong/The New York Times)

BOSTON — The sign is easy to miss in the waiting room of the emergency department at Massachusetts General Hospital, next to the reception desk and a hand sanitizer pump. “Register to vote here,” it says, above an iPad attached to a podium.

The kiosk has stood there since November, before the pandemic began, and stayed there through the worst weeks of April, when 12 gasping patients were put on ventilators during a single grueling 12-hour shift.

Now, as the number of coronavirus patients has slowed to a trickle, Dr. Alister Martin, the 31-year-old emergency room doctor who built the kiosk, is determined to keep trying to register voters.

“There will be a time where, above the din of suffering, we ask,

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