CITY HALL – St. Louis has designated $60,000 for the Board of Election Commissioners to offer residents more places to vote absentee in the Nov. 3 election.
Officials allocated the money in a special meeting Wednesday of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.
Absentee voters can go to the election board’s headquarters at 300 N. Tucker Boulevard. But the board hopes to offer two or three additional sites for voters’ convenience, Mayor Lyda Krewson told residents in her press conference Wednesday afternoon. Her office is working with the election board to find good locations – north, central and south.
The board is hoping to have the extra voting sites open for two to three weeks before the election.
She noted that “many more people” than usual – almost 11,000 people – voted absentee in the August election. With the continuing threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, she predicts “at least double that number” for the general election in November.
People do need to give a reason why they must vote absentee, but reasons now include being 65 or over, or having a health condition that would make the person more susceptible to the virus. Other reasons include being out of town on Election Day.
The extra voting locations will need staff and poll workers, and Krewson encouraged residents to apply to work the polls. Workers get training – and pay.
For the August election, the city had about 600 poll workers.
“For the November election, the election board estimates that it’ll take close to a thousand people to be poll workers,” Krewson explained.
She mentioned that some people complain about poll workers or the experience of voting. But Krewson reminded voters of the importance of the role and encouraged residents to sign up to do the job. (Being a poll worker is another reason why someone might vote absentee.)
Yes, the hours are long and the pay is not. “But consider it part of your civic duty, if you will,” Krewson recommended. “Step up to be a poll worker.”