Voters on Tuesday will see health precautionary measures at polling locations, and many will be going to different polling places than they might be used to.
Polls open at 6 p.m. and close at 7 p.m. There are races and ballot questions across Eastern Jackson County.
The Jackson County Election Board put precincts in 43 locations for this election – many of them large gymnasiums at schools that would not have been available on the original election date of April 7. Normally, elections involving voters around the county would have more than 100 precincts. Tuesday’s elections were pushed back from April 7 because of the pandemic.
Registered voters in Eastern Jackson County should have received a letter from the election board because of the many polling location changes, with addresses and directions. Voters can also find their polling place and check their registration status at www.jcebmo.org.
Voters who will be unable to get to their poll Tuesday can vote absentee at the Election Board office, 215 N. Liberty St., Independence, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. Voters can also vote curbside Tuesday instead of going inside to vote at their polling locations.
Poll workers will wear masks and gloves Tuesday, and workers and voters will have easy access to hand sanitizer, the Election Board says. Surfaces will be disinfected regularly, social distancing will be enforced, and voters will be given a pen or stylus to use and keep instead of the normal “I voted” sticker.
The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office says it will monitor polls for any voting irregularities, as it normally does. The prosecutor’s office will be checking for such things as potential voter fraud or abuse of voter rights such as threats, giving false information or bribing for support. To report any such instances, voters can call the Public Corruption Unit at 816-881-3111. The phone line will be monitored while polls are open.
On the ballot
No matter where you live in Eastern Jackson County, Tuesday’s ballot will have an issue or two for voting. Among the issues and contested races on ballot:
• City Council and mayoral elections in Blue Springs. Four candidates, including three-term incumbent Carson Ross, two current council members and one former council member, are running for mayor. One incumbent in each of three council districts is running, though only Kent Edmondson in District 2 is challenged, by Byron Craddolph.
• City Council elections in Independence. Each of the four council districts is on the ballot, though District 1 incumbent John Perkins is not challenged. District 2 (northeast) incumbent Curt Dougherty is challenged again by Brice Stewart. Dan O’Neill and Michael Steinmeyer are running for the District 3 (southeast) seat that has been held by Scott Roberson. Either Dan Hobart or Chris Heitzman will be the District 4 (southwest) council member after advancing from the primary ahead of incumbent Tom Van Camp.
• Two bond questions in Grain Valley for a new municipal complex. The city is asking voters to approve more than $38 million in general obligations bonds for a long-discussed new municipal complex on the former Sni-A-Bar Farm on the city’s south side, to accommodate currently overcrowded facilities. Voters will be asked two questions: one for $23.5 million in bonds to pay for the new buildings, and another for $15.35 million for the infrastructure. Voters would need to approve the bond issues by a fourth-sevenths majority – about 57 percent – for them to pass.
• School bond issues in Grain Valley and Lee’s Summit. Grain Valley Schools seek approval to borrow $14.5 million for the fifth phase in the district’s long-range plan to build high school capacity to nearly 1,600 students. The project – focusing on additions and renovations for performing arts programs at the high school – would not increase the Grain Valley's debt service tax levy, as the district is only borrowing up to its allowed capacity.
Lee’s Summit Schools seek approval to borrow $224 million, also without increasing the debt service tax levy. Planned projects include renovations at Lee’s Summit High School, Mason Elementary and all three middle schools, a new fourth middle school and security upgrades at all school buildings.
• A sales tax question for Sugar Creek fire service. The city is asking voters to approve a half-cent sales tax to help fund the fire department. The tax would expire in 2030 unless voters approve an extension, and city officials estimate the tax would generate about $130,000 annually,
• School board elections in Blue Springs, Fort Osage, Grain Valley, Lee’s Summit, Oak Grove.
• Mayoral and aldermanic elections in Grain Valley and Oak Grove.
• Council elections and a use tax question in Lee’s Summit.