Brenda Bigham expects the Aug. 4 primary election to be costly.

The reason? The COVID-19 outbreak that closed the state to all but essential services in March is complicating matters.

Because of the outbreak, and the easing of election rules pertaining to absentee voting, the Juniata Township clerk is seeing three to four times the number of requests for absentee ballots. “And they still are coming in pretty consistent,” she said.

A lot of those ballots also have been returned already. And that should make Aug. 4 a little easier.

“But we’re still in a position where we’ll need to purchase (personal protection equipment) supplies,” Bigham said at Tuesday’s township board meeting. “I’m not exactly sure what that will entail.”

The election commission had the public testing of the election equipment on Tuesday. The challenge will be keeping that equipment clean during the primary election.

Bigham said the state came through with some money, equipment and supplies, but she wasn’t sure any of it would arrive by the time of the primary.

“I think probably what we’ll end up doing is wait to a little bit closer to the vote,” she said, “and then determine what our needs are at that point. It is just something we are going to have to purchase.”

She said she thinks the money already budgeted for elections will be enough to cover the expense.

The board also:

• Received a donation of $518 for hall maintenance.

• Learned several residents have asked board member Brenda Wachner if the county would install a no-jake-brake sign on M-18 in Watrousville. “They (the police) can’t enforce it, until there is a sign.”

• Appointed Eileen Boring to the empty seat on the planning commission. The seat became open in May, when Lisa Geiger, the planning commission chairman, was appointed township supervisor, replacing Garrett Tetil, who resigned.

• Learned Bigham is having a locked mailbox installed at the township hall.

• Approved a land division application for Paul Stakalosa on Ringle Road and tabled a decision on a land split application from Gary and Deb Wright for the corner of M-46 and Vassar Road.

• Discussed follow up on blight complaints. Geiger said she will work with code enforcement officer Ben Guile to come up with a way to file follow up paperwork with those charged with blight. 

• Is reviewing the mowing of the lawn at the Watrousville Historical Museum. The township has been paying for it for years. Geiger said the board needs to decide if it really wants to continue doing that. She said she will talk to the historical society about this.

• Is adding a sign outside the township hall to its recent effort to improve communications with the residents. The board recently added a suggestion/comment form online on the website and Facebook page.

Mark Haney is a staff writer for The Advertiser. He can be reached at