Turnout for absentee and mail-in voting is already shattering Greene County records this election year. KSMU asked county clerk Shane Schoeller how his office will keep the voting process safe on Election Day.
That’s the sound of the Greene County Clerk’s office, which is busy processing absentee and mail-in ballots.
“That is our date and time stamper. As you can imagine, thousands of them are being stamped with the date and time we’ve received them as an office,” Schoeller says as the machine beeps.
Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller says more than 30,000 absentee or mail-in ballots were requested this election cycle, with over 24,000 already cast. That number of requested ballots is triple the number of absentee ballots cast in the county in 2016.
And for those who will vote in person on election day, they will be doing so during the worst pandemic in 100 years.
Schoeller each polling place has sanitizing wipes and cleaners, with poll workers in gloves and face masks behind Plexiglas shields.
Two workers will be dedicated to cleaning and each voter will receive their own pen to mark their ballots.
Masks will be provided and encouraged at polling locations in the city limits of Springfield, which has passed a mask ordinance.
But Schoeller says his office legally can’t encourage people to wear masks in places there is no mask ordinance, and can’t even enforce the mask mandate at the polling place.
“Even inside the city limits of Springfield, the right to vote is a federally and state protected right," Schoeller said. "Even if someone is not wearing a mask, we’re still going to allow them to vote.”
Still, Schoeller urges voters to wear masks as a courtesy. He said voting lines will have social distancing markers on the floor.