Livingston County sharing heavy absentee voting pace
County Clerk Sherry Parks confirms nearly 1,000 absentee and mail-in votes cast by Oct. 28; around 1,200 total projected by election day next Tuesday. One polling place change – Chillicothe's 2nd ward
- As many as 1,200 absentee and mail-in votes might be case, clerk anticipates
- City of Chillicothe second ward voters will vote at City Hall lobby this time
- Special absentee votings hours at clerk's courthouse office Saturday (Oct. 31) 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
- Clerk reminds, emphasizes "no electioneering" rules at polling places
By PAUL STURM, C-T Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — By the time the close of Livingston County voting in the 2020 general election concludes next Tuesday at 7 p.m., Livingston County Clerk Sherry Parks anticipates nearly 80 percent of the county’s registered voters – the highest percentage and highest raw-votes total – will have cast ballots.
Within those expected numbers, a larger total of absentee votes will have been cast, in comparison with any of the three preceding “presidential” elections, she reports.
As of this past Wednesday, nearly 1,000 absentee or mail-in votes had been cast and/or received at the clerk’s office, Parks confirmed. By 7 p.m. Tuesday – absentee ballots may be delivered to the clerk’s office in person by the voter who requested one or by a family member through that time, she reminds – she expects that number to swell to around 1,200.
While the polls will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., “excused” absentee voting still may be done in advance at the clerk’s office on the second floor of the county courthouse in downtown Chillicothe either during special office hours Saturday (Oct. 31) from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.) or until 5 p.m. Monday.
For persons who requested mail-in ballots (different from a mailed absentee ballot) from the clerk’s office, those must be returned by mail, the clerk stresses; they cannot be hand-delivered and the county does not have a “drop-off box” to which they can be taken.
Given the amount of time remaining before the election and some slowdowns in first-class mail delivery being experienced around the country, there is a possibility ballots mailed between now and Tuesday might not arrive in time to be counted in the vote totals.
If a person requested a mail-in ballot and, whether it has been sent back yet or not, has concerns about whether it will have arrived in time, they can go to the polls and present themselves to vote in person on Tuesday. The poll workers will be able to confirm if the mail-in ballot had indeed been received; if it has not, the voter will be able to cast his or her ballot in person at that time.
The same holds true for a voter who had an absentee ballot mailed to them and sent it back by mail, but is uncertain whether it arrived in time.
Once election day itself arrives – current weather predictions are for very favorable conditions with sunshine and high temperatures in the low to mid 60s, registered county voters going to the polls will find identical health-protection procedures in effect as those used during the June and August elections held since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Parks confirms.
Voters will be socially-distanced and will need to wear masks and hand sanitizer will be available. The clerk requested those going to the polls to bring their own masks, if possible, but there will be some available for those having forgotten.
With the often-high emotional pitch of this year’s election, Parks issued a reminder that “no electioneering” rules which apply inside and within 25 feet of the door of any precinct polling place include not only spoken expressions of support for any candidate or political party, but also any written or printed materials being displayed or distributed.
In addition, the wearing, carrying, or other display of support for any candidate or party – such as shirts, hats, masks, etc., containing a candidate’s or party’s name, image, or campaign slogans, is prohibited inside or within 25 feet of the entrance to any polling site. Violators will be asked to leave the polling place and not permitted to return until any such materials have been removed.
She encourages all those going to the polls in person to be courteous and patient and to thank the election judges for their service. While there might be a line of persons waiting to cast their ballots at various points of time during the day or even consistently, Parks says she does not expect the lines nor the amount of time waiting to vote to be significantly long, particularly compared to larger urban areas.
According to Parks, she has a full staff to handle the Election Day activities. She cautioned election judgets to try to practice social distancing and limit activities between now and Tuesday in order to stay healthy.
One Livingston County voting precinct will have a different site from the most-recent election in August, Parks disclosed.
Voters in Chillicothe’s second ward should report to the lobby of City Hall Tuesday, not Turning Point Church.
A sample of Tuesday’s full election ballot was printed in both last Saturday’s (Oct. 24) and this past Wednesday’s (Oct. 28) editions of the Constitution-Tribune. Sample ballots also are available on the county website at www.livingstoncountymo.com.
The full-length description of the two proposed Missouri Constitution amendments on the ballot was printed in the Wednesday, Oct. 21, edition of the Constitution-Tribune and will be in the Saturday, Oct. 31, edition, as well.