During a spike in the coronavirus, Gov. Mike Parson signed a declaration moving the April 7 municipal elections to June 2, which is now just two short weeks away. We talked with county clerks about their plans to conduct in-person and absentee voting during this strange time.
Johnson County Clerk Diane Thompson said her office was awarded around $22,000 in grants. The grants came from the Secretary of State’s office through federal funds for protective equipment for poll workers and sanitation supplies to keep both workers and voters safe.
“With those funds, we able to purchase sneeze guards . The Secretary of State’s office was able to that same federal funding to procure a large quantity of face masks and face shields,” Thompson said. “They were not able to acquire gloves. Were were not able to acquire gloves in our county.”
Without gloves, Thompson and other county clerks will rely on Clorox wipes, hand and spray sanitizers to disinfect voting areas, as well as alcohol pads to clean electronic touchscreens. And instead of an “I voted sticker,” voters will get something a little more special – an “I voted pen” that can be used to cast their ballot.
Voters in Daviess County will also receive an election pen when they vote. But there will only be one precinct open on June 2. That one will be in Gallatin. Daviess County Clerk Ronetta Burton tell us her preparations for Election Day.
“A law enforcement person will be taking temperatures,” Burton said. “And we have mask available that we’ll ask people to use, plus marks on the floor to maintain social distancing. We’ll be cleaning voting stations and electronic machines between each voter, and our staff will be in protective garments as well. We’ll try to do everything we can to protect not only ourselves and the public and still give them a chance to vote in person.”
Because of the special circumstances facing Missourians today, Burton is encouraging her county voters to do so by absentee ballot.
“With of the governor’s stay-at-home order and now his recommendations to stay at home, especially those with health concerns, we are using the “confine to home because of illness” excuse on the application. That will allow people to get an absentee ballot and they can vote at home and it doesn’t require a notary signature,” Burton said. “That’s what I am encouraging everybody for this election to do,” she adding, emphasizing these special arrangement are only for the June election.
Factors for just one central precinct include a smaller-than-usual ballot and protecting her poll workers, most who are 60 years of age or older, from possibly being exposed to Covid-19. That’s why on June 2, Burton’s longtime election workers will be replaced by her own staff.
“Normally, I would have 45 to 47 ballots for this election and this time, I only have 18,” she said. “Half of the people, almost, don’t have anything to vote on this time. That’s why we thought we could manage a central polling location.
“My poll workers are 94 percent over the age of 60 and most over 70, so I didn’t feel comfortable putting them in that position,” she said.
Burton’s staff will man the central polling location to safeguard older volunteer workers.
allowed for a single polling place, according the county clerk. It also protects the majority of her poll workers who are 60 years or older from being possibly exposed to Covid-19.
Because it’s a smaller election, burton said the Gallatin precinc
New guidelines will likely be in place for the August election, Burton said.