Many voters relying on absentee ballots amid pandemic

October 27, 2020 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — As Election Day approaches, many New Hampshire voters have taken advantage of the state’s absentee ballot law, which was expanded to allow for concerns about the coronavirus.

As of Tuesday, more than 225,000 absentee ballots were requested statewide. Of that, over 181,575 ballots have been returned.

In the November 2016 general election, state election officials counted 75,305 absentee ballots.

Anyone concerned about the coronavirus can vote by absentee ballot, either by mail or by dropping off completed ballots with election officials on or before Nov. 3.


New Hampshire had a late state primary, in September, so voters have some experience with the safety measures at the polls and their voting options.



The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday it is investigating potential exposures related to a person who tested positive for the virus at a restaurant in Atkinson.

The department said the potential exposure happened in the bar and tavern area of Merrill’s Tavern at the Atkinson Resort & Country Club on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22.

The department said that it conducted contact investigations but that there may be additional people who were exposed to the coronavirus on those days and should get tested.

Also, a popular restaurant in Raymond has shut down for 10 days, saying seven of its more than 120 employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery posted online that it closed Sunday. The staffers include a server, a chef, two prep cooks and two members of management. Restaurant officials said all affected employees were wearing masks while working, and are feeling OK.

The building will be sanitized and all employees will be tested before reopening, the restaurant said.

Restaurant officials said there was the potential for exposure to the coronavirus between Oct. 19-24 and encouraged anyone in the building at that time to be tested.



As of Tuesday, 10,531 people had tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, an increase of 140 from the previous day. The number of deaths remained at 475.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has increased over the past two weeks from 66 new cases per day on Oct. 12 to 93 new cases per day on Oct. 26.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.