Safety measures planned during June 2 voting

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 5/20/20

HERMANN — Gasconade County voters on June 2 might feel like they’re in a grocery store rather than a polling place, finding themselves separated from the election judges by a large piece …

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Safety measures planned during June 2 voting

Posted

HERMANN — Gasconade County voters on June 2 might feel like they’re in a grocery store rather than a polling place, finding themselves separated from the election judges by a large piece of plexiglass. The device is one of several steps taken to protect election workers and voters during the coronavirus pandemic.

With only a couple weeks until the postponed Municipal Elections, it’s crunch time for County Clerk Lesa Lietzow and her staff in preparing for the June 2 vote that will determine such local government offices as mayoral and aldermanic seats, school board director positions and other local posts.

Until Monday, all county government departments’ employees had been working for the past few weeks on a flex schedule that had a department’s workers sent home for a week on a staggered basis to reduce the chance of spreading the coronavirus throughout the courthouse. This move was adopted for administrative offices after it was put in place for 20th Circuit Court staffers. The court, and all administrative offices, returned to a normal work schedule for employees Monday.

That’s fortunate timing for the county clerk and her staff.

“I can’t furlough employees any more,” Lietzow said. She and her staff are busy ironing out a schedule for election judge training for the June 2 vote. That training could include instruction on keeping the polling places disinfected during the 13-hour voting day.

The county clerk was scheduled to receive a set of safety-related materials for the upcoming vote Monday afternoon from Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. Lietzow said Ashcroft, the state’s top election official, was planning to personally visit all 114 counties prior to the June 2 vote.

The cost of the plexiglass shields and other safety items might be covered by the $1.725 million received by Gasconade County as part of the $2.2 trillion virus relief funds approved by the U.S. Congress several weeks ago. County government officials have received broad guidance on what the money can be used for, but as for specific expenses, they still are awaiting direction from state and federal administrators.

“I’m not sure what the rules are and I’m interested in finding out” exactly what will be considered a legitimate expense that can be covered by the money, Lietzow said.

Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, was hoping to have a clearer understanding of legitimate expenses after a meeting of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission board last Thursday night. County commissioners meet again at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Hermann.

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