GREENE COUNTY, Mo. — The pandemic has changed many aspects of life, including the way democracy works.
And with the Missouri State Primary coming up on Tuesday, polling places are sure to look a lot different.
Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller says safety in voting has become a big priority.
“We’re going to be doing everything we can to make it safe,” Schoeller said.
Outside the city of Springfield, masks are not required. So more staff is needed to keep polling locations safe.
“We’re going to have two people who are going to be both cleaning and communicating with voters, making sure they’re staying socially distanced,” Schoeller said.
However, poll workers are now in short supply.
“The number one challenge affecting elections officials is recruiting enough poll workers to staff all the polling locations that are going to be necessary in the fall,” said David Becker, founder of the Center for Election Innovation and Research.
In the past, most poll workers have been over the age of 60, and the symptoms of COVID-19 can be much more severe for people that age or older.
Those most at risk can opt to cast their ballots this fall through the mail, which will need to be postmarked by Oct. 20.
Becker says the chances of fraud with absentee ballots is low.
“It occurs extremely rarely, the amount of voter fraud isn’t zero, but it’s very very close to zero,” Becker said.
Voters can expect to see increased safety measures starting with the statewide primary on Tuesday.