St. Louis County opens 4 satellite locations, uses wait time estimate technology at polls

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – St. Louis County’s Election Board opened its headquarters and four other satellite sites for in-person absentee voting Thursday. Officials estimate one-third of all votes will be cast before election day.

St. Louis County’s Democratic Director of Elections Eric Fey said the first day went well.

“We had big lines at all of our locations today, which is an indication of the popularity of opening those satellite locations, so not only were people voting in-person but a lot of people turning in their completed ballots they received in the mail, so it’s been good all around,” he said.

There are four satellite sites open Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

  • St. Louis County Library, Mid-County Branch: 7821 Maryland Avenue, Clayton
  • North County Recreation Complex: 2577 Redman Road, St. Louis
  • South County Government Center, Keller Plaza: 4544 Lemay Ferry Road, St. Louis
  • West County Government Center: 82 Clarkson Wilson Center, Chesterfield

Absentee voting is also available at the Board of Elections headquarters in St. Ann. This location is open during the same hours, but election day is also added at the headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 3 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

It’s too late to request a mail-in absentee ballot, voting absentee in-person is the only absentee option remaining.

“The law in Missouri changed that we can’t mail a ballot after two Wednesdays before the election, so after that deadline passes, we open up more places because people can’t have it mailed anymore, but if they have a place closer to their home, maybe they can go in person and get it done,” Fey said.

He added that based on the amount of absentee ballots thus far, they are expecting a higher voter turn out this year, than the 2016 presidential election.

“I think we only had 524,000 people vote in 2016, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get up around 550,000 or so this time around,” he said.

Due to COVID-19, voters can cast their ballot at any location in St. Louis County. This year there are less polling locations.

“In 2016, we had almost 400 polling places across St. Louis County, this election we’ll have 230 across St. Louis County,” he said.

One of the challenges this year was getting enough poll workers.

“We had well over 1,000 election judges who have worked prior elections refuse to work at some point this year, so it’s been a challenge, I think we’ll probably have close to 800 new election judges who have never worked before this election,” Fey said. “We want to have polling places that have a mix of seasoned workers and new workers so we don’t have the luxury of having 400 polling places otherwise we would have a whole bunch of locations with all new people, I don’t think the voters would find that a very pleasant experience.”

St. Louis County voters can check the wait time at their polling location, before heading out to the polls.

“I never like to try anything new in a presidential election, but it was something we had the ability to try all of a sudden, so we’re giving it a shot,” he said.

A poll worker at each location counts how many people are in line every 30 minutes, put it into an app, and then voters can view the estimated wait time online. Election officials say one person in line equals about a one minute wait.

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