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Two workers at Mercer County Board of Elections test positive for COVID-19

A ballot box in front of the municipal building in Princeton. A box has now been placed in front of the Mercer County Board of Elections building in Ewing because of COVID-19.

A spokesperson for the Mercer County confirmed on Wednesday that two workers at the Mercer County Board of Elections have tested positive for COVID-19. The two workers and other workers who were in close contact with them are being quarantined for 14 days.

“It should have no effect on counting ballots because in accordance with the governor’s executive order, the board cannot start scanning ballots until 10 days before the general election,” reads a statement from Mercer County Spokesperson Julie Willmot. ¬†

In the statement, Willmot said the board is in the process of receiving mail-in ballot via the U.S. Postal Service, via hand-delivery, and via collections from the 16 ballot drop boxes that have been set up around the county. 

On Oct. 4, an employee for the Mercer County Board of Elections contacted a supervisor to say they tested positive for COVID-19.  Two employees have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

Six people work in the office, which was temporarily relocated from Trenton to 1400 Parkway Avenue in Ewing because of the board’s need for more space to manage the mail-in ballots for the general election.

Officials said the building has been sanitized. The health officer for the county advised the county that a 14-day quarantine is in effect for all in close contact with the people who tested positive.  Officials said people who were not in direct contact with the workers are still working and others who are quarantined are working remotely. 

Officials said the board has made arrangements to continue to safely secure mail-in ballots. A ballot drop box was installed at the front entrance to the Board of Elections so that voters can continue to deliver their ballots to that location. In addition to the drop box, the board will have a person in place to receive ballots being hand-delivered to the Parkside Avenue office in Ewing.

It is unclear when poll worker training will resume. A training session for poll workers was canceled in recent days but no information was provided and a new date for the training was not given at the time.   

Officials said contact tracing is underway, and people who have been potentially affected have been contacted. Contact tracing is being conducted through the health officer in the town in which a person lives.