Missouri county clerks focusing on PPE for November election

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FILE – In this May 27, 2020 file photo, a worker processes mail-in ballots at the Bucks County Board of Elections office prior to the primary election in Doylestown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

(Missourinet)– County clerks across Missouri have been gearing up for the November 3rd presidential election, with some hiring temporary workers to handle the influx of absentee and mail-in ballots.

Missouri Association of County Clerks president Crystal Hall, who serves as the clerk in eastern Missouri’s Lincoln County, says most clerks have enough poll workers and staffers.

“There’s not one county that is in desperate need that I’m aware of that haven’t been able to find the staffing that they need for the election,” Hall says.

Missouri’s secretary of state says a combined total of about 424,000 absentee and mail-in ballots have been received by local election authorities.

Ms. Hall is thanking Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft for delivering personal protective equipment (PPE) this year to all 116 election jurisdictions. Ashcroft’s office also distributed about $4.5 million this year to local election authorities, to provide funding for them to meet their jurisdiction’s individual needs.

Hall has purchased special pens for each registered voter in her county, for COVID reasons.

“So instead of having that one pen that’s hanging on the chain that everybody that comes in there (clerk’s office) touches, you’re going to have your own pen that no one else has touched,” says Hall.

Hall also tells Missourinet that FFA high school students in Lincoln County will be cleaning machines all day long, to keep voters safe in November.

Secretary Ashcroft and his staff have delivered about 17,000 face masks, 17,000 face shields and 500 gallons of sanitizer to the clerks across the state.

Fast-growing Lincoln County is located just north of St. Charles County. Towns include Troy, Elsberry and Foley. There is no mask mandate in Lincoln County, so Hall is encouraging poll workers to wear a mask. Her staff has also installed plexiglass barriers between voters and election workers.

The county clerks association says you can expect long lines at the polls for the November election. Ms. Hall says while election judges and pollworkers are paid, they’re essentially volunteers. She notes many are elderly and will be working long hours on election day, from 6 a.m. until at least 7 p.m.

“They’re working through this because they care about our community and our country, and they’re doing their patriotic duty to help,” Hall says, urging voters to be patient and kind.

If voters are in line by 7 p.m. on election night, they are still allowed to vote.

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