- The Washington Times - Friday, March 27, 2020

A top aide to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has died from the coronavirus, she announced Friday.

George Valentine, the deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel, died Friday morning of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, after being admitted to the hospital Wednesday, Ms. Bowser said.

“It’s devastating for everybody, of course we are very sorry,” Ms. Bowser said, noting that Mr. Valentine had worked for D.C. government for two decades. She said city officials are tracing his movements and contacts.

Ms. Bowser said she doesn’t believe she had contact with him.

The D.C. Department of Health announced 36 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday night, and now has a total of 267 cases and four deaths.

“The only reason we should be leaving our home is to buy groceries, pick up medicine, exercise alone or with your own family, or if you have been advised to seek medical attention or if you are performing an essential job,” Ms. Bowser said.

Meanwhile, the D.C. Board of Elections encouraged residents to vote by mail for the city’s June 2 primary and Ward 2 special election.

Michael Bennett, chairman of the D.C. Board of Elections, said Thursday he wanted to make sure that all voters, Board of Elections staff and poll workers are safe and that all votes will be counted for the primary and the June 16 Ward 2 special election.

The elections board asked that residents request their vote-by-mail ballot online, on the voting application, by mailing or calling the board directly. Once the ballot is completed, Mr. Bennett said voters can mail it back in a prepaid envelope or drop it off at a voter center.

Mr. Bennett said 20 voter centers will be open across the city, at least two in each ward.

For the June 2 primary election, voters will be able to vote in person from May 22 until June 2.

For the special election, polls will be open June 12 through June 16.

Mr. Bennett asked that voters voluntarily stagger when they vote. A schedule with recommended voting times by alphabetical order will be released soon.

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