The Cayuga County Board of Elections will close its office next week due to a COVID-19 exposure.
One employee has tested positive and others had to quarantine because they were close contacts. Katie Lacey, the Democratic elections commissioner, told The Citizen on Friday that the office will be closed through Friday, Sept. 24.
"Fortunately, we have enough lead time I don't think it's going to impact our ability to have everything done on time," Lacey said.
The board is preparing for the local elections in November. Lacey said absentee ballots arrived on Friday and the initial plan was to send them to voters by the end of next week. They plan to bring in outside staff to put the absentee ballots into envelopes.
Because of the exposure, the elections board postponed its classes for poll workers. The classes were scheduled for next week, but have been moved to early October.
Cayuga County is in the midst of one of its worst waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Halfway through September, there have been 556 confirmed cases in the county. There were 747 in August.
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As cases rise, hospitalizations have also surged. The Cayuga County Health Department reported on Thursday that there were 22 residents hospitalized with COVID-19.
Lacey doesn't expect that the exposure will affect the board's work before the elections this fall. Voters can request absentee ballots — those services are available online — and early voting is scheduled to begin on Oct. 23.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.
"We are able to meet our deadlines and we're hopeful that by closing down that we'll stop this and not have any further infections and loss of staff," Lacey said. "We're a small staff. There isn't much we can do to make up for people being quarantined."
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.