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Precautions Will Be In Place During 2020 Primary Election Tuesday

Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon expects about 30% of the county’s 114,000 registered voters to cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary election.

There are a total of 61 candidates seeking their party’s nominations for 19 different offices ranging from county positions to statewide offices and the 4th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Voters also will cast ballots on Amendment 2, which asks whether they want to expand Medicaid in the state.

Lennon is predicting the election will lure just less than one in three registered voters.

“Just looking historically at other elections, the August primary tends to be lower turnout than the November general. So 30% is about average for what we would see,” she said.

Many of the candidates for public offices are unopposed in the primary, but there are exceptions. Four Republicans are seeking the nomination for Northern District Boone County commissioner, for example, and there are four Republicans and five Democrats running for governor.

Still, Amendment 2 might do more to bring people to the polls than anything else on the ballot. If voters approve it, the measure will expand Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 230,000 adults in Missouri, which includes people earning less than $18,000 individually or $30,000 for a family of three, according to a previous Missourian story.

The county’s 45 polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. People can find their voting information on the Boone County Clerk’s website or by calling the office at 573-886-4375.

To ensure public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, a plexiglass barrier will be placed in front of the election judges, Lennon said. Voters will also see signs encouraging them to maintain social distancing and wear masks.

High school students will be on the spot to keep polling locations disinfected between voters, she said.

Although the pandemic brings plenty of challenges, Lennon said the polls will be fully staffed.

“We always have a challenge making sure we have enough workers, regardless of the election,” Lennon said, “but we’ve tried to do more outreach to get more election judges, and we’ve had a lot of returned judges.”

Lennon said around 4,600 people had already voted in the county before Friday. Her office thus far had received 63 mail-in ballots. Among absentee voters, 900 cast ballots in person, and 3,684 delivered them by mail.

These ballots have been processed by the staff and will be the first ballots counted on election night, she said.

Lennon said her staff had good luck with mail-in ballots during the municipal election in June.

“We’ve been lucky that we’ve always had a process in place to handle mail-in ballots, but we found some efficiencies so that we can accommodate the growing number of them,” she said.

Lennon said she hopes more people will return mail-in or absentee ballots as soon as possible. More than 7,000 Boone County residents have requested them, she said, which means a little over half of those have been returned.

The deadline for mail-in ballots is 7 p.m. Tuesday. The deadline for casting absentee ballots in person at the county clerk’s office is 5 p.m. Monday.