Parks, local election authority, responds

Due to the current state of emergency and concerns over the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Mike Parson has issued an executive order moving Missouri’s planned April 7 municipal elections from April 7 to June 2.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft formally requested Parson change to date, which he did with Executive Order 20-03, on Wednesday.

“Given the growing concern surrounding COVID-19 and the large number of people elections attract, postponing Missouri’s municipal elections is a necessary step to help combat the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of Missouri voters,” Parson said in a statement. “Postponing an election is not easy, but we are all in this together. We are thankful to Secretary Ashcroft and our 116 election authorities for their leadership, cooperation, and commitment to doing what is best for their communities during this time.”

Livingston County Election Authority Sherry Parks said the situation is very rare.

“This is an extremely extenuating circumstance,” she said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were no cases of COVID-19 - also called the coronavirus - in Livingston County. Ten cases have been confirmed in Missouri.

Parks said, she supports the decision to postpone the election.

“At this time, I believe it is the correct decision. Even though I had not yet had any judges cancel on me, many election authorities across the state have and I expected I would before April 7 arrived,” Parks said. “I had one polling place cancel due to their business being closed to the public. I expect the COVID virus to still be an issue in June; however, we now have some time to prepare for that. It is my hope that we, as a community, have taken the necessary precautions to ensure we have limited cases of the COVID virus. Therefore, at this time and with the information we currently have, the election authorities across the state feel this is the best option for this election.”

By Tuesday, the election boards in 46 counties had asked the state to push back the election to June 2.

Parks noted that the change in the election has not changed all of the guidelines for being able to vote in the election. The last day to register for the election, March 11, did not change and the deadline to file as a write-in candidate remains 5 p.m. on March 27.

Absentee voters can cast their ballots through 5 p.m., on June 1, Parks said, adding that application for an absentee ballot to be mailed must be received in her office by May 20.

Livingston County voters will find the following issues on the June 2 ballot: Chillicothe R-II School Board, four candidates have filed for three positions. The Chillicothe R-II school have levy question, along with the City of Chillicothe Sales Tax are also on the ballot, along with, Chula R-III School Board, four candidates have filed for three positions, Hale R-1 School Board, four candidates have filed for three positions, Trenton R-IX School Board, four candidates have filed for three positions Breckenridge R-I School Board, one candidate, write-ins-three positions, City of Chula Aldermen, Village of Utica Board Members.