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Pandemic moves polling places for Kansas City election

Polling locations open to Kansas City, Missouri voters.
Posted at 3:42 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 20:05:09-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Voting during the COVID-19 pandemic looks different.

Voter turnout might not be the same and polling locations may look different.

The Kansas City Election Board said voter turnout for Tuesday's election was expected to be around 6-10%.

"There were more absentees than normal and I think that’s what we’ll see in a pandemic type time," Kansas City Election Board Election Director Shawn Kieffer said. "Once the virus is gone, I think you’ll see more people coming to the polls and less absentee."

Tuesday, Kieffer referred to activity at the polls as "slow and steady."

Kansas City, Missouri, polling locations went from 115 to 28 on Tuesday. Kieffer said COVID-19 fears made it hard to recruit poll workers.

To prevent different polling locations from causing any confusion, 142,000 cards were sent to registered voters to let them know which polling place to vote. Signs were also posted at every polling location, including closed locations, in Kansas City to let people know where to go.

“Not only did we do that, we also published it in five or six papers," Kieffer said. "We also spread the information on social media, we put up signs, we have our website where people can always go on."

The change in polling locations was due to social distancing guidelines. According to the KCEB, polling locations will find an eight-foot barrier at each of the voter check-in tables, according to the KCEB website.

Election workers will wear masks, face shields and gloves.

Lysol spray and other cleaners will be used to sanitize equipment and other hard surfaces, according to the website.

“We were looking for more social distancing, trying to keep people six feet apart," Kieffer said. "We need to look at bigger gyms, community center, cafeterias, big meeting rooms, whatever we can do to space people out."

Larger polling areas are a change Kieffer said the Election Board is interested in keeping in the future.

Polls close at 7 p.m.

The Kansas City Election Board is expecting to have results by 8:30 p.m.

You can catch results on kshb.com/election-results.