Poll workers encouraged to wear masks
It’s not your normal local municipal election.
For one thing, it’s being held in June, not April. Thank the COVID-19 pandemic for that.
For another, some poll workers on Tuesday, June 2 might take on a look of bandits, thanks to preventive measures taken due to the coronavirus threat.
“We are encouraging our poll workers to wear face masks, and providing masks for those who don’t have them. We are also providing clear plastic face shields for poll workers,” Chris Hershey, a director for the Platte County Board of Elections, said in a conversation with The Landmark this week.
Frequently touched areas will also be targeted with cleaning agents.
“We are sending disinfectant for common surfaces like door handles, voting booths, and tables and asking that poll workers be diligent about cleaning between voters. We are also sending a liquid alcohol sanitizer for hands and Poll Pads, as well as a gel/aloe/alcohol sanitizer for the poll workers to use,” he added.
And Hershey says, of course, poll workers are being reminded of the basic need for hand washing.
“We are encouraging frequent hand washing, and not just a reliance on sanitizer,” he remarked.
What about social distancing?
“We will have signage encouraging social distancing, as well as painter’s tape to mark cues on the floor indicating and encouraging six foot spacing,” Hershey said.
The voter check-in stations and the voting booths will be at least six feet apart, he added.
So obviously, steps are being taken to make the voting process as safe as possible.
“No amount of cleaning or protective equipment is as effective as not gathering when there is a virus like this present in the community,” Hershey said.
The deadline has come and gone for mailing out absentee ballots, he explained.
“Unfortunately we’ve passed the deadline to mail out absentee ballots for the general municipal but for future elections, the primary and general, I would encourage anyone who is concerned about voting in person to take advantage of the law recently passed by the legislature (awaiting the governor’s signature) which would allow them to vote by mail,” Hershey said.
He said for the primary in August and the general in November the deadline to request that a ballot be mailed is 5 p.m. the second Wednesday before the election.
“Applications for either election can be sent now. We will update the voter’s record and mail their ballot when absentee voting begins,” he said.
As for the Tuesday, June 2 municipal election, Hershey said it has been a struggle finding enough workers to man the polls on election day.
“We have had a lot of poll worker cancellations. We’ve been reaching out trying to get new people to work and have trained 10 new people this week who will work June 2,” Hershey said last week.
The shortage of workers has made it necessary, Hershey explained, to consolidate some polling sites to make up for staff shortages.
Hershey said those who usually vote at Hoover Christian Church will instead vote in Platte City at the First Baptist Church, 214 Ferrel Street.
Those who usually vote at Hope Fellowship will vote at Coves North, and those who usually vote at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church will vote at Platte Woods Methodist Church.
Polls will be open in Platte County on Tuesday, June 2 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Ballot highlights include a contested race for mayor of Platte City and some contested races for aldermen spots at the City of Parkville.
Go to the legal notices section of this issue of The Landmark for ballot issues.