Missouri metro votes for the first time with coronavirus restrictions

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The metro’s first election of the coronavirus era took place on Tuesday.

Voters in Missouri showed up to cast their ballots as election workers and managers take precautions to keep everyone healthy.

Jackson County voters weighed in on issues at 43 separate polling locations, all of which focused on keeping voters socially distanced and safe. Tuesday’s municipal ballot also included a mayoral race in Blue Springs and city council seats in Independence.

Voters and poll workers took visible steps to defend themselves against the virus’ spread while tabulating thousands of votes.

“We’re trying to make sure everyone is as spread out as they can be,” Corey Dillon, a director with the Jackson County Election Board, said. “We have hand sanitizer available from the start of the voting process. We are asking our election judges to wear masks when voters are present, and gloves, if they’d like.”

Polling tables and voter work stations are kept six feet apart. Dillon said drive-up voting, which is usually reserved only for voters with disabilities, is available for anyone who wants it during the pandemic. Dillon also said many voters and poll workers are seniors, which puts them at higher risk for coronavirus infection.

“The concern is that someone who doesn’t have symptoms still could have the virus and I — he wouldn’t know it. She wouldn’t know it, and neither would I,” Velton Peabody, a voter, said.

Missouri’s legislature recently nodded in favor of voting by mail during the pandemic, a provision that now sits in the hands of Gov. Mike Parson.

This intermediate election was also a dry run, as election workers prepare for large crowds at the polls in November, when the populace will vote in the 2020 Presidential Election.

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