Paula Copenhaver, Fountain County clerk, stands in the atrium of the Fountain County Courthouse, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020 in Covington. Staff photo by Nikos Frazier
Paula Copenhaver, Fountain County clerk, stands in the atrium of the Fountain County Courthouse, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020 in Covington. Staff photo by Nikos Frazier
COVINGTON – When Secretary of State Connie Lawson called to encourage Paula Copenhaver and her poll workers to put on face masks while overseeing early balloting at the Fountain County Courthouse, the county clerk said she told Lawson what she’s been repeating since polls opened Oct. 6.

“There are exemptions to the governor’s mandate,” Copenhaver said Friday. “If someone qualifies for an exemption, it is none of my business.”

In rural Fountain County – where the state designated its rural towns as coronavirus hot spots and the county health officer continues to butt heads with community leaders with recommendations to close school classrooms to keep the spread of COVID-19 in check – Copenhaver’s mask-less stance hasn’t changed.

She’s part of the government, the clerk said, “but I’m not going to be part of the government overreach.” Social distancing and available hand sanitizer will keep the voting process safe enough, she contends.

Lawson did reach out to Copenhaver and ask her to put on a mask, Valerie Warycha, communications director for the secretary of state, confirmed Friday. She didn’t reveal more about how the conversation went.
Copyright © 2020 www.jconline.com