(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Local elections are being held June 2nd, originally scheduled for April 7th, but COVID-19 concerns postponed the election nearly two months.
The health crisis has changed many aspects of everyday life, including how citizens vote.
“Well, this is definitely going to be a different election,”said Mary Baack-Garvey, Buchanan county clerk.
Baack-Garvey said going into local elections, officials and city staff have made sure to implement all necessary safety measures to make sure residents feel welcomed and comfortable casting their vote during this pandemic.
“We gotta get the hand sanitizer bottles, have the rubber gloves ready, the masks. We even have screens in between the voters and the judges,”said Baack-Garvey.
But even with the extra safety precautions in place, some residents still might not feel safe to vote.
Governor Parson said last Thursday during his daily press briefing, if Missourians don't feel safe to vote in this election, don't. UT
“You know, I hope people feel safe to go out and vote, but if they don’t, the number one thing is their safety should be number one. So, if they don’t, then don’t go out and vote,”said Missouri Governor, Mike Parson.
Local officials expect voter turnout to be significantly impacted due to the health concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
“I hope we hit 10 percent. It could be in the single digits, but yeah it’s going to be pretty low,”said Baack-Garvey.
Officials said they feel confident about the safety measures implemented for residents to vote.
“I want to ensure the voters that we have gone above and beyond to make sure every polling place will be ready for anybody that wants to come vote,”said Baack-Garvey.
While some might see the pandemic as free pass, Governor Parson said if you want to see change in your community, now's the time.
“We all see right now, what elected officials are doing on the local level are doing and how important it is to make sure you have the right people in the right place,”said Governor Mike Parson.
Baack-Garvey said every election is important, including local elections.
“I think local elections are extremely important cause this is where you live and these are the people representing you. To me, it doesn’t matter what election it is, they should get out and vote,”said Baack-Garvey.
As an added incentive, officials said local elections should be quick and easy as lines are expected to be short.
Voters will be electing two school board members, a bond to fix city bridges and how city council members are elected.
Polls open at 6 a.m. and run until 7 p.m..
Residents are asked to call the county clerk's office to find their nearest polling location.