Ellsworth City Hall on Aug. 17, 2021. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

With just a week left before election day, Ellsworth’s City Hall is closed to the public due to COVID-19.

The building won’t reopen until Nov. 1, the day before Election Day, because of “multiple staff members testing positive for COVID-19,” according to a statement on the city website.

Glenn Moshier, Ellsworth’s city manager, said Tuesday that the city clerk’s office is understaffed this week because of the positive cases. City Clerk Heidi Grindle is still working to prepare for the Nov. 2 elections, which include statewide referendums and contested local races for city council and school board.

The city clerk’s office on the main floor is generally where people go when they first enter the building, Moshier said, but with several staffers out, there are not enough employees on duty in that office to assist or direct people as they walk in.

For this reason, city officials decided to close the building to the public, but other city staff are reporting to work in the building and at other locations, such as the public works building and the transfer station, he said.

Grindle is working with Penny Weinstein, Moshier’s administrative assistant, to answer the phones in the clerk’s office and to prepare for the Nov. 2 election, including handling absentee ballot requests, Moshier said.

People who are voting by absentee ballot and want to return those ballots this week in person can put them in a drop box inside the door at the Church Street entrance to City Hall, or they can call the city clerk’s office at 207-669-6604 to make arrangements. Grindle said anyone who calls her office and leaves a voicemail message will get a call back. Ballots can also be mailed in.

When city hall reopens on Monday, Nov. 1, all the usual in-person services will be available. Residents of elections wards 1 and 4, as usual, will be able to cast their ballots at City Hall on Election Day, Moshier said.

Residents of ward 2 and 3 cast ballots respectively at Your Place Community Center on Old Mill Road (near the intersection of North Street and Bangor Road) and at Maine Coast Baptist Church on Bangor Road. The operation of those polling places also will not be affected by the closure this week of City Hall, officials said.

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....