SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – The day before the election can be a hectic time for those who run the polling stations, but there were no signs of tension or concern at the Greene County polling center Monday. While a line of people waited on one side of the building to vote in person by absentee ballot, on the other side Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller and his staff were busy preparing for Tuesday’s big attack and delivering voting equipment to volunteers those who did so swerved to other polling stations across the county.
And things went smoothly.
“We test all our voting equipment before the election and we are ready,” Schoeller said. “We have bipartisan teams that do that.”
The only potential hiccup Schoeller has pointed out for Tuesday’s general election is that some voters may turn up unaware of Missouri’s new law requiring them to show photo ID before they can cast their ballot . Those who do not have photo ID must vote using a provisional ballot, which requires a few additional steps before it can be counted.
“You used to be able to check in with your voter ID,” explains Schoeller. “But now you must use either your official Missouri driver’s license or non-driver’s license, or your federal passport or military ID.”
Anyone who follows national election coverage surely knows that there are many concerns about the security of the election process and the safety of voters and candidates. The Department of Homeland Security has said it is actively looking for threats to polling officials and vandalism at ballot boxes, while the Justice Department announced Monday it would be patrolling polling sites in 24 different states across the country to ensure compliance with voting laws.
The department will oversee polling stations in 64 jurisdictions in 24 states including: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York , Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
With all that’s going on, Schoeller admits he’s getting more questions from the public these days.
“Yes, in terms of voter integrity,” he said. “When people choose to only listen to what they read on social media, that’s often why we see challenges. People share stories that aren’t exactly or not necessarily true.”
Schoeller says people are welcome to see the trial in person.
“Anyone can come and observe the pre-test of the voting equipment,” he emphasized. “You can watch the post-test where we do the exact same test after the election. We will do a manual count after the election so you can watch as we do this manual count and compare it to the count from the machine itself to make sure they match. So these are all things that are open to people to come and witness and observe. Everything from non-partisan teams. We invite people to come and learn about the process because our state constitution truly empowers people to be part of the accountability and transparency process of our elections. And mistakes are made. Elections are made by humans and humans make mistakes. But we have to find out if it was a mistake or if it was intentional. You have to trust but verify. And even as a district clerk, I want people to hold me accountable because maybe I’m making a mistake and I need to do something better. But I also ask that they be willing to listen and learn.”
While other places across the country are calling law enforcement to polling stations to ensure voter safety and compliance, Schoeller says that won’t happen in Greene County.
“In this election, we didn’t see anything to worry about,” he said. “But we are quite prepared for that.”
And as for the security of the voting machines?
“The tabulator doesn’t have a modem and it’s not online,” Schoeller replied. “Everything is offline, even if we upload the results on election night, the machine we upload them to is not online. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to make sure we protect our equipment from compromise.”
He also said the national unrest hadn’t resulted in fewer volunteers wanting to work in Greene County.
“We’ve actually seen more people come and want to be part of the process,” he said. “We even have backup judges ready for Tuesday and that’s a good issue.”
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