Blevins now says staff COVID case won’t delay election prep
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – One day after calling the impact “significant,” Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins now says a coronavirus case among his staff and the resulting quarantine won’t impact his office’s election prep.
Blevins said Tuesday he was implementing a contingency plan so a “COVID-19 illness in the Fayette County Clerk’s Elections Department will have no impact on the mailing of absentee ballots or voting.”
Blevins sent the department staff home Monday after one employee tested positive for COVID-19. CDC guidelines require all employees who work in the area of the infection to self-quarantine for a minimum of two weeks. The Clerk’s office also coordinated with the Health Department to insure the use of best practices.
Blevins said the affected employees have now been outfitted to work remotely. Election officers have been hired to create the ballot packages. The officers were not exposed, and remain hard at work, he said.
Blevins also turned to the City to find a solution to quickly mitigate the impact of the illness.
“I am very fortunate to have partners that we can leverage quickly. Together, we have managed to dodge the proverbial bullet,” Blevins said.
“We wanted to help in any way we could,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “The election is important, and there should be no barriers to voting, certainly not COVID-19.”
The only unresolved issue is that the Election Department phones have not been extended remotely. The Clerk’s office is working on a solution, and in the meantime voters can contact the State Board of Elections with questions at 1-800-246-1399.
All election officers have been recruited for the Nov. 3 election. Blevins hopes to finalize locations for in-person voting by the end of this week.
Voters can, and should, check to make sure their registration reflects their current address at GoVoteKY.com. Voters who want to request an absentee ballot can do so at the same website.
Absentee ballots will be mailed to voters in the date order that the applications were received by the Clerk’s Office. Voters who have already applied should expect to see their ballots in the next few weeks.
The Clerk’s website, www.fayettecountyclerk.com, contains the most up-to-date information regarding the election, as well as all other services. Many services have been altered in order to compensate for safety restrictions related to the pandemic. Citizens are encouraged to check the website regularly for updates.
Blevins said he hopes to bring back the Elections Department back to work on Monday, Sept. 28. All other departments within the Clerk’s Office remain open.