CLAY COUNTY — The last day to request an absentee ballot for the June 2 election by mail is Wednesday, May 20.
“Anyone can come to vote at the office up through June 1, the day before the general election,” Republican Director Patty Lamb of the Clay County Election Board said. The election board office is located at 100 W. Mississippi St. in Liberty. “Anyone can request an absentee ballot, but they have to choose why they are voting absentee. By law, they have to pick a reason.”
As the stay-at-home orders statewide changed the April 7 election date to June 2, there are still safety concerns being ironed out before voting at the polls can take place. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office personnel is delivering face masks, distancing strips, hand sanitizer, face shields and posters to local election authorities for polling places. Clay County Election Board should receive their stock Thursday, May 14.
“We believe we are going to have the necessary face masks and shields to cover our poll workers,” Lamb said. “We are going to ask that people adhere to the 6 feet physical distancing (requirement). We are also going to limit how voters touch voting implements.”
Rather than have poll workers put voter ID cards or a driver’s license in a tablet to verify a voter, the voter will be asked to place necessary identification in the digital device, Lamb said.
“When the voter needs to sign the tablet, that person will be handed his or her own pen, which will have the soft tip to sign and then the pen part to fill in the voting ballot,” she said. “It has been a challenge to set up for this election, but we are hopeful we have all the equipment and rules in place.”
Lamb said used pens can be handed back to poll workers and the pens will be disinfected and reused in a future election. Should people still not feel comfortable voting inside their current polling place, Lamb said people can take advantage of curbside voting.
“We are trying to give them as many outlets to safely vote,” she said.
Lamb predicts around a 15% voter turnout.
Clay County Democratic Director Tiffany Francis said the election board is also looking for poll workers who are younger as many poll workers tend to be 60 and older and part of the high risk group for getting COVID-19.
“We often have retired poll workers, but they are also the age group that is most vulnerable to the coronavirus,” she said. “We are looking for some younger people to get involved. It might be a great job for a teacher.”Francis said poll workers have to be 18 or older to handle ballots, but if older high schoolers want to help open doors or be on hand, the help would be appreciated.