JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Board of Elections approved the resignation of Deputy Director Debbie Newcomb effective July 3.

Newcomb took the position at the Board of Elections in October 2019. She also served as the head of the Ashtabula County Democratic Party.

“The opportunity to serve in this capacity was a good experience for me,” Newcomb said in her resignation letter. “This was a difficult decision, but it is time for me to be concerned about my family and myself,” she added later.

Newcomb has served in a number of different offices. She has been both a member and president of Conneaut City Council, served as an Ashtabula County commissioner and was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives.

“Well, we had a short trip together, but it’s been a good one,” said Charlie Frye, Board of Elections director.

After the board accepted her resignation, Newcomb spoke.

“No matter what our party affiliation, no matter what our views are, this staff works very well together,” she said.

Newcomb and others mentioned this year’s primary, initially scheduled for March 17. Due to COVID-19, Gov. Mike DeWine attempted to have the election delayed by a Columbus Common Pleas Judge. The Judge declined to grant the order, which was requested less than a day before polls were scheduled to open, and eventually, the Ohio Department of Health ordered polling locations closed as a matter of public health.

Following that order, there was a significant amount of confusion about how the election would be carried out. The Ohio legislature put together a bill to address several problems stemming from the outbreak, including the election. The bill extended the absentee voting period until April 27 and let voters request ballots until a few days before the deadline.

“I think Debbie got initiated in a very strange series of events,” Frye said.

Newcomb thanked everyone for working with her during her time at the Board of Elections.

At the meeting, the board also discussed potential issues with the upcoming election.

“We have some obstacles that we have to work around, figure out how to do ... in-person voting in November and do it safely,” Frye said.

Those obstacles include electronic poll books that are frequently touched by voters and poll workers and the number of absentee ballots that need to be printed and sent out.

Plexiglass dividers have been ordered for the counters at the Board of Elections office, Frye said.

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