[Image via kentucky.com]
A positive COVID-19 test has shut down the Fayette County (Lexington), KY election office – pausing mail ballot prep just before deliveries were expected to begin. Kentucky.com has more:
The Fayette County clerk’s elections department has been dealt a “devastating setback” as an employee tested positive for COVID-19, causing the department to temporarily shut down.
The shutdown will cause a delay in mailing out ballots to those who have already requested them, Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins said Monday. The pandemic has made mail-in voting more popular as citizens try to avoid crowds at polling places. As of Friday, about 45,000 Fayette County residents had already requested ballots, Blevins said.
“We are hoping to keep the delay to a minimum, perhaps just a few days,” Blevins said in a statement. “Voters’ requests for ballots will be processed in the date order received. Some may see their ballots by late September, but many will not receive their ballots until the first week of October.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines require that all employees from the county’s elections department quarantine for two weeks, Blevins said. The department hopes to reopen by Sept. 28, Blevins said.
Despite the “devastating setback,” the county believes it will be fully prepared for November and directed further questions to the state:
Questions about the upcoming General Election will have to be directed to the State Board of Elections until the Fayette department reopens, Blevins said. The state board can be reached at 1-800-246-1399.
“This is a devastating setback for us,” Blevins said in a statement. “We are in the process of establishing a backup process, but this will definitely have a significant impact.”
Despite the setback, the department has recruited “all of the necessary elections officers” for November’s election, Blevins said. He hopes to have in-person voting locations finalized by the end of the week.
This is a situation many communities will fear this fall, with justification. Outbreaks (or even positive tests) can not only be tragic but extremely disruptive to election preparation; Fulton County (Atlanta), GA’s election office had to close after an outbreak – where one employee died – and it put the county way behind in preparing for what turned out to be a disastrous primary. Here’s hoping everyone in Lexington stays healthy and that the office can get back on line very soon. Stay tuned …