Absentee voters faced with two-hour wait at Jackson County Election Board

absentee voting Jackson County
Posted at 4:37 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 18:45:17-04

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Absentee voters at the Jackson County Election Board experienced two-hour waits Friday.

Lines wrapped around the building as voters waited to cast their ballots.

Masks were worn by voters and election workers, and social distancing was enforced inside the polling location.

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't been the only hoop the election board has had to jump through this year.

On Thursday, the Mid-Continent Public Library's North Independence Branch closed due to potential COVID-19 exposure. The library is a polling location on Election Day.

“I would say that we are doing everything in our power to make sure the building is safe and clean," said Jacqueline Reed, director of Mid-Continent Public Library.

Reed told 41 Action News that the building would be sanitized and impacted staff members would be cleared before returning. The North Independence Branch remains closed for library services.

“We trust that they will do a fabulous job," said Tammy Brown, director of the Jackson County Election Board.

The pandemic hasn't made things easy on election workers, who are doing their best to keep people safe as they cast their ballots.

“We encourage people, if you’re standing in line at the polls, it’s going to be a beautiful day, enjoy it," Brown said. "Just don’t be on top of each other. That’s our goal is to not have this spread because of Election Day."

The Jackson County Election Board expected 2,000 people to vote absentee Friday. Brown said 60,000 people have mailed in their ballots or voted in-person, but she still expects the polls to be extremely busy on Tuesday.

“I still think we’re going to have a huge turnout at the poll because we had a huge increase in registration. So while there is a lot of people voting, there will still be a lot of people at the polls," Brown said.

The Jackson County Election Board has around 240,000 registered voters and is expecting 80% turnout in this year's election.