ST. LOUIS – St. Louis-area election officials are taking steps to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 at the polls.
Rick Stream, the Republican director for the St. Louis County Election Board, reports the county has already received approximately 60,000 absentee ballots ahead of Tuesday’s primary.
“We’ve prepared for this,” said Stream. “We’ve prepared for the huge surge of absentee ballots.”
He said election workers are sanitizing surfaces and wiping down any of the items voters touch in order to cast their ballot.
“Every utensil that will be used by a voter, a stylist for the vote pad and a pen when they get their ballot will be clean prior to them using it,” said Stream. “All pens are cleaned off constantly.”
St. Louis County no longer uses touch screen voting machines. The new system allows voters to go to any polling place in St. Louis County to cast their vote.
Voters in St. Louis city have the option of a paper ballot or using a touch screen.
“If you opt to use a touch screen, we have these Q-tips that voters can use to make the application on the touch screen so they’re not actually physically touching the screen,” said Ben Borgmeyer, Democratic director for St. Louis City Election Board.
Voters in both St. Louis City and County are asked to wear masks and will be given one if they don’t have one. They will also make accommodations for those who choose not to wear a mask.
“We’re asking people to maintain social distancing,” Borgmeyer said.
Missouri expanded its vote-by-mail option due to COVID-19 concerns. Those ballots must be received before the polls close on Tuesday. Borgmeyer said if anyone is still holding a mail-in ballot they should contact election authorities to determine how that ballot can be cast in time.
The opportunity to cast an absentee ballot will continue Saturday and Monday.
St. Louis City allows absentee voting at 300 N. Tucker Blvd. The hours on Saturday, August 1 are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Absentee voting on Monday, August 3rd is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
St. Louis County absentee voting locations are at 7821 Maryland Avenue, 2577 Redman Road, 4544 Lemay Ferry Road, 82 Clarkson Wilson Center, and at 725 Northwest Plaza. Hours for Saturday, August 1 are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Absentee voting hours for Monday, August 3 are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information about voting in Tuesday’s primary, you can visit https://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/howtovote#Absentee.