By LINDA WOODLAND
A Fostoria polling location is being moved for next week’s primary election.
The move is in response to a directive from Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose concerning the coronavirus.
Registered voters in Precinct Fostoria 4B, who regularly vote at Good Shepherd Home will now be voting at the New Life Family Worship Church, 800 Columbus Ave., for the March 17 Presidential Primary Election, the Seneca County Board of Elections announced Tuesday.
According to a news release, the main doors to the polling location are off the back parking lot. Voting will be in the Fellowship Hall to the right upon entering the building.
James Ehrman, director of the Seneca County Board of Elections, said notifying voters of the change is the most difficult part of moving a polling location.
“Postcards are being sent out to every registered voter in that precinct,” he said. The 670 registered voters in the 4B precinct won’t have to go far from their familiar voting location on Columbus Avenue.
“We’re just going across the street,” Ehrman said. “The church of the Brethren is right there at Good Shepherd. Good Shepherd owns the building. We just learned that as we were searching (for a different polling place).”
Ehrman said the new voting location will be clearly marked so voters know where to vote.
“We’ll get signs out. We’ll have the flags out across the street,” he said.
The directive from LaRose’ s office was issued in hopes of mitigating any potential risk of COVID 19 (coronavirus) to vulnerable populations.
The directive, which was received at 5:15 p.m. Monday, informed counties they are not permitted to use nursing homes or senior living facilities as polling locations.
“With all the worry on the virus. I mean, the Secretary of State’s mandate was because of the concerns over the virus,” Ehrman said. “And they didn’t want people bringing something in and affecting all the seniors. That we understood. And we’ve just taken a step to adjust.”
LaRose said last week his office didn’t expect any serious disruption to the primary election but he urged people to either vote early or request an absentee ballot if they were concerned about COVID-19.
The plan to relocate the polling venue for precinct Fostoria 4B for the March 17 primary election will be discussed when the election’s board of the meets at noon Friday at the board office, 71 S. Washington St., Suite 1101 in Tiffin. Any other business that comes before the board will also be acted upon.
Ehrman said he is hoping the polling location change will be temporary.
“We hope to go back to Good Shepherd, if we are allowed to.”