With the postponed municipal elections across Missouri slated to take place in just a couple weeks, Moniteau County officials are working to ensure voters' safety while at the polls.
The election, previously scheduled for April 7, was postponed until June 2. In the run-up to the new election date, the Moniteau County Clerk's Office has been working to disseminate safety guidelines and secure supplies to help sanitize polling places and encourage social distancing.
Moniteau County Clerk Roberta Elliott said the county purchased a number of supplies as a precaution to protect voters and poll workers, including Plexiglas shields to separate workers and the public as much as possible. Elliott said the plan is to have floor space at polling places clearly marked to help people adhere to proper social distancing, and hand sanitizer is to be readily available.
"From the time you sign the poll book to when you get your ballot to putting your ballot in the machine, we have people in place that are going to come in and clean everything throughout the day," Elliott said. "Everything's going to be wiped down and sanitized."
The county even received some help from Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who delivered supplies to the courthouse last week.
"If it wouldn't have been for the Secretary of State's Office helping us out with a lot of those supplies, we would probably still be scrambling to get things," Elliott said.
Elliott said her office has had conversations with other area election officials, who all seem to be on the same page as far as how they're approaching things to keep voters safe on June 2.
Elliott said she hasn't heard anything from voters in Moniteau County who are concerned about going to the polls in person, nor has she seen an influx in requests for absentee ballots. She said she's only had a few poll workers who told her they didn't feel comfortable working in person, but she was still able to get as many people as would be needed.
"I really figured we'd get more phone calls on that," Elliott said. "Most of (the communication) we've had has been my judges — they know probably better than I myself know at the precincts what we need to watch for and what common areas we want to be sure are clean."
Elliott said she would expect next month's election to be a busy one with what is appearing on the ballot, but is curious how turnout will be the day of since public focus has been elsewhere recently.
"I really suspect that (June) will be busy for voting because every community out there just about has something that's going to affect them directly," Elliott said. "School board elections, and there's bond issues and the county (ballot measure), those types of things."
The County Clerk's Office released "1-2-3 to Vote Safely" guidelines last week. The Office encouraged following these recommendations:
Have an Election Day plan:
Know where your polling place is.
Study your sample ballot to reduce time in the voting booth.
Avoid voting at peak times to reduce exposure to others.
Follow CDC guidelines for social distancing:
Hand sanitizer will be offered upon entering the poll.
Maintain adequate distance between yourself and others.
Common surfaces and voting equipment will be cleaned and sanitized periodically.
If you are not feeling well, do not enter the poll.
Cast your ballot:
Place pens where instructed for sanitation before they are reused.
Place ballot in voting machine and use hand sanitizer again before you leave.
Curbside voting service is also available by calling 573-796-4661.