Officials offer tips on how to be safe on election day

JASPER & NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. – The election is less than a week away and officials are giving some advice on what you can do to be prepared. Some local officials bring us some essential tips from before you head out the door to the time you get to your polling place.

With the election coming up, we spoke with some local officials on things you need to know, especially with COVID. Newton County Health Department Administrator Larry Bergner has some pre-poll tips. “Before heading to the polls, I would certainly take caution to stay away from large gatherings, wear your mask when you’re out in public, wash your hands often, when you’re wearing a mask try not to touch your face.”

Once you get to the polls Jasper County Clerk Charlie Davis says there’s things you can do there as well. “I think one of the things that we’re focusing on is encouraging people to wear face masks or face shields, things of that nature, we do not have the authority to mandate people do, but we are absolutely encouraging it.”

Another good point of advice: “Make sure that you’re ready to wait in line for a little bit and wear appropriate attire.”

Davis says they’ve also made a small change to how you vote this year. “We will be using the styluses this year that everybody will be taking home with them, we do not want them back, and when you look at the way the polls are going to be everybody should have the ability to vote without having to touch anything in the polling location except for the ballot.”

Davis says there’s also some don’ts when it comes to heading to the polls. “We do ask people don’t bring your own spray and spray equipment down, the fear there is not knowing if somebody is bringing in illegal substance and spraying things down on the equipment.”

Additionally, there’s some legal considerations. “Please do not wear any political attire to the polls, whether it’s a political mask, if it is a political t-shirt, maybe it’s your favorite candidate, favorite candidates’ button.”

Davis says Missouri statutes prohibit wearing those items because it’s considered electioneering.

We’ve also added some resources in case you fear election fraud, or that your rights have been violated. You can click here for those resources.