Missouri receives federal funding for August elections

Special to Branson Globe

The state has given about $4.5 million in federal money to Missouri’s 116 local election authorities. During a visit with reporters this week in Jefferson City, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says he hopes the money will help poll workers.

“We made sure that everyone got at least $20,000, so that even our smallest jurisdictions had enough to really make a difference. One of the things that I’ve suggested, probably suggested it so many times that the election authorities are tired of me mentioning it, is that they should use a portion of those funds to increase their poll worker pay,” he says.

Ashcroft, a Republican, has said during other occasions that the poll worker job is intense. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. the day of elections. Workers have to be there before the doors open and they stay after polls close to count ballots and to do other tasks.

Ashcroft says some states have not had enough polling precincts generally due to a lack of workers.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to be able to put more money into paying poll workers, to get more poll workers, and also help out some people that might be in financial straits, to make sure that we have enough poll workers and we have enough polling locations,” says Ashcroft.

He says he “fully believes” Missouri’s November election will be the “safest election people have participated in in Missouri”.

“Because we’ve had H1N1 or swine flu or other things before and we’ve never gone to the steps that local election authorities are doing with the physical distancing, with the face shields, with the face masks, with the plexiglass barriers that they’re putting up and with the distancing strips. They’re actually going to machines and disinfecting them between voters,” says Ashcroft.

Ashcroft anticipates the state will have about as many polling sites as it usually does during a primary election. Missouri’s primary is August 4.

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