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VIDEO: Missouri prepares for primary

Posted: 6:49 PM, Mar 07, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-07 19:55:21-05

The presidential candidates have little time to rest. 

Voters in several states will decide on Tuesday which candidate they want to represent the Republican and Democrat parties. One week later, another round of voting will take place in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and Missouri. 

“Oh, it’s definitely crunch time,” said Robert Robert Nichols, the Democrat director of the Jackson County Election Board. 

Prepping for the primary

Both Jackson County and the Kansas City Board of Elections have been testing voting machines and preparing for next Tuesday’s big primary. And while voter turnout typically hovers around 10 or 15 percent, Nichols said for this upcoming primary, the county expects the turnout to be much higher. 

“When you don’t have the known factor involved, people really start looking more into the candidates, paying attention to what they say,” he said. 

Shelley McThomas agreed. She is the Kansas City Board of Elections director. 

“There’s a lot of interest, media coverage, the debates, the town halls. Donald Trump has caused a lot of conversation about the election, and people are aware of what is going on,” said McThomas. 

Last weekend in Kansas, lines wrapped around caucus locations as voters waited to cast their ballots. Some precincts saw record numbers. 

While the race for party nominations still remains unpredictable, McThomas said the city is preparing for long lines with a new check-in system. Voters will go to a table, check in, request a ballot and move to the voting machines. 

“One of the purposes is to reduce the lines. Everything we are doing now is to prepare for November. This is kind of a trial, we want to see if it makes a difference in our large polls where there are long lines,” she said. 

Before you head to the polls 

In Kansas City, there will be 137 polling locations. In Jackson County, there will be 184 polling locations.

According to Nichols, the best times to avoid long lines at the polls are between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

If you have moved since the last election, be sure to call the county or city and let them know. Polling locations vary depending on where you live. Going to the wrong location could create delays. 

Jackson County Election Board in need of poll workers

During voting season, many workers are needed to ensure things run smoothly the days an election takes place.

It's an opportunity to earn some cash. 

2016 is a big year with the Missouri primary just days away and more in the months to come to determine the next president, Missouri governor, U.S. senator and other races.

In Jackson County, election poll workers, deputies, office day and night workers and e-pollbook judges are used during the election.

Requirements for election workers

  • Registered voter in the jurisdiction of the election authority appointed.
  • Be a person of good repute and character who can speak, read and write the English language.
  • Cannot serve as an election worker at any polling place in which his or her name or the name of a relative appears on the ballot. 
  • No election worker shall, during his or her term of office, hold any other public office, other than as a member of a political party committee or township office.

There is always a big turnout during a presidential election. During 2012, the Jackson County Election Board had 1,100 election judges alone. As of now, there are only 1,200 election workers total.

Tammy Brown said they are needing workers for both the Republican and Democratic side and that applying for several polling sites increases your chance of getting selected.

A supervisor judge earn $200 - $35 from training and $165 on election day. 

To apply and for more information, go to jcebmo.org.

To learn more, watch the video below. (Can't see it? Watch it here. )

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Ariel Rothfield can be reached at ariel.rothfield@kshb.com.  

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