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County elections board reopens to public

LISBON — Like other county offices, the county Board of Elections will reopen to the public today after keeping their doors locked for the past 10 weeks due to COVID-19.

The elections board on Tuesday approved reopening the doors with some rules. Those visiting the office are encouraged to wear a mask and will be asked about whether they are or have been sick or have tested positive of coronavirus. If too many people are there at once they may need to limit how many can come into the lobby at the same time.

Board director Kim Fusco said during the summer months there really are not that many people coming to the office. In the next month or so, glass or plastic is going to be installed between the lobby and the office, which also should help with protecting people on both sides of the glass from the virus.

Bryce A. Miner, the deputy director, said he is getting pricing for glass, both bullet resistant and not, to see what they can afford with the remainder of the security money the board has in the budget.

The number of people visiting the office is expected to increase later in the year and board member Larry Bowersock said in the fall they may have to hire someone to limit the numbers coming through the door and scan temperatures, especially for those who may come for in-person voting in the month leading up to the general election. People may have to wait in socially distant lines outside the building. Bowersock said he believes there may be all absentee voting in the fall, but that is still being determined by the state.

The employees at the elections board are spaced at least six feet apart in the office and it will be recommended they wear masks.

In other matters before the board:

— Fusco reported staff members hand counted some randomly selected precinct ballots for the Democrat presidential race, the sixth congressional district race and the senior services issue to perform a post-election audit on the system. She reported to the board there were no inaccuracies found in the numbers they obtained and what the machine counted.

— The board approved the withdrawal from the ballot of county prosecutor Robert Herron, who brought a letter to the board office recently. The Democrat central committee will have until Aug. 10 to select Herron’s replacement on the ballot. Board member Patty Colian said the party is already making a list of potential candidates after learning about Herron’s decision.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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