MONTICELLO — Procedures for the June 2 Primary Election have changed due to the discovery of a positive COVID-19 case inside the White County Building in downtown Monticello.
According to Bob Callahan, president of the White County Elections Board, all voting from now until Primary Election day (June 2) will take place inside a tent outside the main entrance to the county building.
“COVID-19 is in the courthouse,” he said Friday afternoon. “That is why voting will take place in the tent outside the building. It will be the only vote center.”
The White County Commissioners confirmed the report, saying it has learned that “individual(s) in the courthouse have tested positive and/or are exhibiting symptoms and awaiting testing results for COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus).”
The White County Building was one of four polling centers established several weeks ago, he said. The other polling centers included Brookston Federated Church, and CDC Resources and Twin Lakes High School in Monticello.
Starting May 26, early absentee in-person voting will be 11 a.m.-7 p.m. May 26-29; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. May 30; and 8 a.m. to noon June 1 — all in the tent.
Voting on the day of the Primary Election (June 2) will be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. — also inside the tent.
Callahan said all poll workers will use protective equipment (masks, gloves, PPEs, hand sanitizer, etc.) provided by Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s office. All voting machines, he added, will be cleaned after each voter contact.
“We are doing everything we can to protect the public,” he said. “We’re only having one vote center because, considering the circumstances we find ourselves in, managing more than one is just too much to ask.”
White County also has faced a shortage of people willing to work the polls because of fears of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
Callahan said, per orders by Gov. Eric Holcomb, that elections officials cannot force voters to wear masks or social distance from each other.
“But we highly encourage it,” he said. “We can probably provide masks for anyone who needs one. Every precaution that can possibly be taken by the White County Commissioners and the White County Election Board has taken place. We are in consultation with (Lawson’s) office — and I’m sure we’ll be talking with them more. They’re on board with everything we’re doing.”
Vote tabulation will still take place in the county building after the polls close since the public is not yet allowed inside.
“We’re going to have an election, come hell or high water.”
Voting by mail ended May 21.