Voters who want a mail-in ballot for the June 2 municipal elections have until May 20 to apply.
City councils, school boards, bond issues or taxes are on the ballot in virtually every community in Eastern Jackson County.
Election officials have been busy making extra preparations for the election rescheduled from April 7 due to the pandemic. Besides securing polling locations and enough healthy and willing workers, officials have to secure enough protective equipment and sanitizing supplies.
“We have all of our polling locations secured, and we’re in the process of assigning judges,” said Corey Dillon, one of the two directors of the Jackson County Board of Elections, which oversees elections outside of Kansas City. “So far it’s looking like we’re going to be in good shape (in getting poll workers), but it is a fluid situation,” she said.
Dillon and fellow director Tammy Brown said they have secured masks, gloves and disinfectant for poll workers and hand sanitizer for poll workers and voters. In some places, poll workers will be able to offer curbside voting. Judges will be doing their training soon, all online.
As for polling locations, there will be fewer for this election – 43 this time, compared with more than 100 in most elections that span around the county. But Brown and Dillon say that won’t mean more crowding.
With schools not in session, the election board in many cases combined several precincts into one location, knowing they could use a large space like a gymnasium and still keep people plenty spread out.
For example, Truman High School, Fire Prairie Upper Elementary and Raytown Central Middle School will have 10 precincts each, and Blue Hills Elementary in Independence will have nine. The Midwest Genealogy Center, which has a large multipurpose room, also will have 10 precincts.
“There’s not many new places, but with schools not in session, it’s a lot easier for them and us,” Dillon said. “We can use the gymnasium, whereas sometimes you can’t and you have just a big hallway or meeting room.
“Having schools totally empty with plenty of parking is certainly a plus,” Brown said.
Both directors say they don’t anticipate very long lines, even with multiple precincts, given that municipal elections often don’t yield as large of turnouts as presidential elections and national primaries and people simply might not have a June election on their mind.
“We don’t know if we'll have long lines at all,” Dillon said, “but we do have protocols in place to keep people in six-foot intervals and limit the number of people in the building.”
For those wanting to walk in and vote absentee, the election board’s main office, 215 N. Liberty St., on the Square, is open 8:30 a.m.to 5 p.m. weekdays. The board’s extra office nearby is not open for absentee voting. Brown said absentee voting has been slow for a municipal election, though again it could be because people don’t have a June election in mind. It’s too early to tell if pandemic concerns might ultimately lead to a higher absentee vote count.
There’s a lot on the ballot next month, including:
• City Council and mayoral elections in Blue Springs.
• City Council elections in Independence.
• Mayoral and aldermanic elections in Grain Valley and Oak Grove.
• School board elections in Blue Springs, Fort Osage, Grain Valley, Lee’s Summit and Oak Grove.
• School bond issues in Grain Valley and Lee’s Summit.
• Two bond questions in Grain Valley for a new municipal complex.
• A sales tax question for Sugar Creek fire service.
• Council elections and a use tax question in Lee’s Summit.