Safety measures change look of polling places

Nate Strieker scans his ballot after voting in the Missouri municipal election at the New London, Mo., Lions Club on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Election judges did their best to keep the polling place sanitized by using plexiglass barriers and wiping down stations after use as precautions against the coronavirus.
By Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted: Jun. 3, 2020 11:00 am Updated: Jun. 3, 2020 11:25 am

NEW LONDON, Mo. | Safety was a major issue for voters who cast ballots in Ralls County on Tuesday, with precautions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The polls looked different thanks to a $20,000 grant Ralls County Clerk Sandy Lanier received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Ralls County received $1,209,451 in separate funds from the act for entities in need, and fellow county clerks also received grants for protective equipment and other necessary items related to ensuring safety and sanitation during the coronavirus outbreak.

Lanier and staff members were prepared for a smooth setup Tuesday morning, with an enclosed trailer filled with protective equipment and sanitization supplies.

Lanier purchased clear shields and sanitation supplies for election judges through the grants. At each polling place, a 10-person limit was in place — six voters and four judges — and regular sanitation was performed on surfaces like election polls, doors, tables and other high-touch areas. At the Lion's Club in New London, election judge Dana Houchins was sanitizing an election area after a voter cast their vote. 

Lanier said the plastic shields she purchased at each of the county's polling places allowed the judges to slide an iPad safely underneath during the election process. Sanitizer and disinfectant wipes were also on hand at each voting location, and the Secretary of State's office brought face masks and face shields for judges if they chose to use them.

“We are doing a lot of stuff to sanitize constantly,” Lanier said.

Lanier noted voter turnout was average for a municipal election, which is typically lower than during a general election. Houchins noticed the flow of voters in New London was relatively sporadic through the early afternoon. Fellow judge Terry Dees commended Lanier and her staff members for their assistance during an unprecedented time.

“Sandy and her crew have bent over backwards to provide the things we need to do this,” Dees said. “They're very helpful.”

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