COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Local clerks are preparing for the April 6 election. Tuesday was the first-day people could vote absentee.
This April, voters will not be able to use COVID-19 as a reason to vote absentee.
In the 2020 election cycle, registered voters age 65 or older, or anyone who had a medical condition that made them vulnerable to COVID-19 could vote absentee. All other registered voters could vote by mail if they had their ballot notarized.
The provision in the bill that allowed people to vote absentee in the November 2020 election expired at the end of the year.
Despite this, local clerk's offices still expect turnout for the April election to remain around the usual number. Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon said turnout in Boone county for the election is usually between 10% and 15%, while Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer said it is typically around 10% there.
"There's definitely a number of issues on the ballot and we do have a special election in District 45 for the statehouse, so that may raise turn out a little bit as well, but it will be in that same 10 or 15%," Lennon said.
In Boone County, the clerk's office will have more weekend absentee voting events and more tent locations where people can vote.
Both the Cole County Clerk's Office and the Boone County Clerk's Office will utilize the same COVID-19 precautions.
"We will also have all of the same PPE and precautions at the polling places like the plexiglass shields and sanitizing and all of that will still be in place," Lennon said.
Voters can still vote absentee if they fall under the usual qualifiers.
"If you're absent from the county on election day you can vote absentee. That's really what absentee is for," Korsmeyer said.
Korsmeyer said his office may offer curbside voting for people who are in isolation or quarantining, or who have contracted the virus.
"We might try to do something special where we can try to curbside vote those people that are COVID positive. You know, I have to find my volunteers from the political parties to do that," he said.
Registered voters can vote absentee until April 5 at 5 p.m.