A spokeswoman for the city of Portland confirmed Friday that a volunteer involved in a hand recount this week of ballots cast in a city referendum has tested positive for COVID-19.

Jessica Grondin, the city’s communications director, confirmed via text message that the city was working with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to inform individuals who may have had close contact with the volunteer.

“We are working with the Maine CDC and have taken all necessary actions and contacted those who need to be contacted,” Grondin said via text. She did not respond to additional phone messages seeking details on the number of people potentially exposed, including city workers or volunteers from other campaigns, or about safety measures the city had in place during the hand recount of 39,000 ballots Thursday and Friday.

The recount confirmed that the ballot measure was defeated by a narrow margin.

People First Portland, a political committee organized by the Southern Maine Democratic Socialists of America that placed the question on the ballot, collected 100 signatures from registered voters to force a recount. The narrow vote margin allowed proponents to request a recount without having to pay for it, according to state law.

Em Burnett, who is listed as a contact for People First Portland, declined comment when contacted by phone and text message Friday.


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