COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Clerks' offices in Boone, Cole and Callaway counties were working Monday to finish up absentee balloting and prepare for Election Day.
In Columbia, a rush to the polls for absentee balloting led to long lines downtown as voters lined up at the county government center.
Boone County voters had turned in roughly 13,000 absentee ballots by mail and 13,000 absentee ballots in person by Monday morning.
Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon says she expects to have about 27,000 completed absentee ballots out of the 28,000 sent to Boone County voters. Voters in Boone County cast 5,835 absentee and mail-in ballots in the 2016 presidential election.
"We were so happy to be able to spin up those drive thru voting locations on Saturday and Sunday and we're trying our hardest to make sure that everybody that needs a ballot in quarantine gets one," Lennon said. "We do still have curbside voting happening at our office on the Ninth Street side, so people can come to that as well."
Lennon said 388 voters turned in absentee ballots during her office's drive-thru COVID-19 voting event on Saturday and Sunday combined.
"If you still do have your ballot, please if it's an absentee, bring it by our office you can drop it off all the way till 7pm tomorrow," Lennon said. "Or we can cancel out your ballot, you can surrender it at the polling place and then you can vote a full ballot."
Cole County election officials were also swamped.
"So we've been very busy with over 400 people a day in office," said Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer.
Cole County voters had turned in 9,260 absentee ballots as of Monday morning. Voters have turned in 6,012 absentee ballots in the clerk's office and have mailed in 3,248 absentee ballots.
Cole County issued 9,536 absentee ballots for the election this year compared to the 3,926 absentee ballots voters submitted in 2016.
"The pandemic has really put a lot more stress on everybody and we've all had to change the way we do things," Korsmeyer said.
Cole has 54,000 registered voters.
The county had 321 voters show up to its curbside voting event -- offered to those who are in quarantine for COVID-19 -- over the weekend. Korsmeyer's office is also offering curbside voting for those who are COVID-19 positive or close contacts from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday.
"Thank goodness we have the grant money to cover all this because I'm not sure the county would be able to afford all the extra people that we've had to hire for this," Korsmeyer said.
Absentee voters must have their ballot turned in by 5 p.m. Monday.
Polling places are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Korsmeyer says voters have to be in line by 7 p.m. in order to cast a ballot.
As of noon Saturday, Callaway County voters had submitted 2,144 absentee ballots. Voters submitted 1,672 by mail and 2,144 in person. Overall, 3,798 absentee ballots were requested by the 27,928 voters in Callaway County.
In 2016, Callaway County had 1,698 voters cast absentee ballots.
The Callaway County clerk was not available for an interview Monday.
"Make sure that you go on our website, check your voter record, check to make sure your address is still up to date, make sure you know where you're going and your polling place and then review your sample ballot, get a little prepared to make sure when you go into the polling place," Lennon said. "It moves very quickly when you're checking in and if you're prepared, your whole experience will just move faster."