County Board of Elections tasked with finding new polling places for upcoming elections
BY ANDY GARDNER
North Country This Week
CANTON -- St. Lawrence County’s Board of Elections are faced with the possibility of having to conduct a primary in two months while having to watch out for the safety of voters and election inspectors.
The two election commissioners, Republican Tom Nichols and Democrat Jennie Bacon, told the St. Lawrence County legislature’s Operations Committee that they anticipate changes at the state level between now and June 23 that will dictate how the process will work.Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the county can’t use senior homes or adult living centers. That means at least two polling places can’t be used.
Nichols said their discussions have included the possibility of merging polling places, but that “on its face flies against the notion of social distancing.”
“We may be asking [for the legislature’s] help in speaking to various polling places in your communities,” he said.
“Putting election inspectors at risk is very scary for us and we’re going to make sure they’re safe on Election Day, and all the voters who choose to come out to vote,” Bacon said. “I think we’re going to learn more about upcoming primaries as the days go on.”
Nichols said the county Board of Elections should have several plans in place before the primaries.
“I don’t want to make these decisions at the last minute. I think we’ve got to come up with as many reasonable options as possible and implement that,” he said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed executive orders expanding the allowable uses of absentee ballots.
“We’re going to see a much larger use of absentees,” Nichols said.
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