All precincts to be open for voting Tuesday
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Despite recent school closures in the Frankfort District, all precincts will be open for voting Tuesday, according to Mineral County clerk Lauren Ellifritz.
“Frankfort High School will be open,” Ellfritz said, noting that she had received several inquiries about the school ,which houses precincts 10, 11 and 32. Frankfort was closed to students Thursday, Friday and Monday due to COVID-related test results, but that will not effect the school building being open for voting Tuesday.
Confirming that“all 26 precincts will in fact be open, Ellifritz did note that the precinct that normally votes at the Wiley Ford Fire Hall has been moved to Wesley Chapel.
“Everyone in that precinct was sent a letter,” she said.
Polls will open at 6:30 a.m. and remain open until 7:30 p.m. Ellifritz is anticipating a record-breaking turnout.
“I’m looking for 9,000-11,000 people,” she told the News Tribune Monday, noting that the turnout for early voting, which ended Saturday, was “amazing.”
“We had 3,597 voters,” she said. When asked if that was the largest in Mineral County history, she replied, laughing, “the largest ever times two.”
She credited her staff for processing the early voters quickly and efficiently, thus minimizing the wait time as much as possible.
“That first day, they were processing a voter about every minute and 10 seconds,” she said.
The processing time varied, of course, during the busier times, resulting in a longer wait time for some of the voters.
“I heard someone say they waited about 45 minutes. At one point, the line wrapped clear up the side of the building,” she said. “But my staff did a wonderful job getting them through.”
In addition to the early votes, Ellifritz said 1,439 absentee ballots were sent out, and “only about 200 or less” have yet to be turned back in.
Ellifritz does warn the public, however, to expect long lines when they turn out to vote in person Tuesday, and asks that they be patient with the poll workers as they work to process them as quickly as they can.
“Please don’t forget social distancing, and you must wear a mask,” she said. In addition, hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes will be available at the polling locations.
As for the ballot counting process Tuesday night, Ellifritz is fully expecting it to go through the night and into the morning before the process is complete.
She has three teams of two - one Republican and one Democrat - to hand-examine each ballot, an extra step made necessary by the write-in candidates running on the county, state and national levels.
There will also be two Opti-scan machines running at once, although it was the many mail-in and absentee ballots which slowed the process during the primary due to the ballots being folded when they are returned to the county.