N.H. Town Election Officials Prepared To Prevent Coronavirus Spread

Mar 10, 2020

Sign to voters: Wash your hands. Rye Elementary School, where Rye holds its elections.
Credit Dan Tuohy | NHPR

Town elections are taking place across New Hampshire, and local officials and voters are working to ward off COVID-19.

In Bow, where there is a contested selectboard race, morning turnout was brisk. Bottles of sanitizer stood at the ready; signs reminded people to minimize handshaking.

But for most voters this day appeared to be pretty much business as usual.

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Still, some -- like Nancy Fosburgh -- were taking extra precautions. She and her husband voted wearing face masks and rubber dishwashing gloves.

"We're not sick. We don't want to catch it. We are in that elderly group, " Fosburgh said.

In Hopkinton, after voters used pens, selectboard member Sabrina Dunlap sanitized them.

"I should not be smiling while I'm doing this," she said. "This is serious stuff."

In Henniker, coronavirus-inspired precautions were less conspicuous, but moderator Cordell Johnson said there were other Election Day wrinkles to iron out.

"Our biggest issue is our ballot counting machine has broken down a couple of times," Johnson said. "But we've got it up and running."

No towns have yet tried to postpone budget meetings due to COVID-19.