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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Last week, Gov. Mike Parson signed Executive Order 20-03 ordering all Missouri municipal elections previously scheduled for April 7 to be postponed to June 2.

The executive order declares ballots already printed for the April 7 election may be used at the postponed date of June 2. Voters who have turned 18 by April 7 will be allowed to cast a ballot.

"Given the growing concern surrounding COVID-19 and the large number of people elections attract, postponing Missouri's municipal elections is a necessary step to help combat the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of Missouri voters," Gov. Parson said. "Postponing an election is not easy, but we are all in this together. We are thankful to Secretary Ashcroft and our 116 election authorities for their leadership, cooperation, and commitment to doing what is best for their communities during this time."

The executive order states:

The closing date to register to vote in this election remains March 11.

The deadline for filing as a write-in candidate for office remains March 27 at 5 p.m.

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot shall be May 20.

A public test of voting equipment shall be completed no later than June 1.

In-person absentee ballots may be cast until 5 p.m. on June 1.

The deadline by which absentee ballots must be received by the election authority shall be 7 p.m. on June 2.

Military and overseas voters must request a ballot from an election authority by 5 p.m. on May 29, and the deadline for local election authorities to make ballots available to such voters is April 18. Military and overseas ballots must be received by the election authority by June 5.

Local election authorities are also directed to post information on their website, use social media if available, issue press releases, conduct public appearances, and directly contact stakeholders such as candidates.

Moniteau County Clerk Roberta Elliott said she and other county officials had already been in touch with election authorities throughout the state, communicating via email about what could be done regarding the upcoming election given the rapidly-changing landscape due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Elliott said the press release from Gov. Parson and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft included many details Jackson County's election board was already in the process of pulling together and had relayed to election authorities in Moniteau County. She said it was clear this was a proactive move statewide.

Continuing with the election as scheduled, Elliott said, would have presented some challenges.

"The biggest challenge we were already into talking to other counties, and I'm sure I would've been dealing with it as well, was finding enough judges, because they tend to be in the older, at-risk population," Elliott said.

Other issues would have included Moniteau County's precinct sizes and exactly how election officials would monitor polling places to ensure there would be no contribution to spreading COVID-19, Elliott said.

Elliott said the decision comes as a reprieve.

"It was a relief for me because it helps us to refocus and see what happens next," Elliott said.

Extended absentee voting is one product of the shifted date that Elliott said will be a boon even if the spread of COVID-19 has slowed by June's election. Hopefully, she said, things will be back to a sense of normalcy by then.

Anyone with questions can contact the Moniteau County Clerk's Office at 573-796-4661.

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