SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (KY3) – The day before the election may have been a busy time for poll chiefs, but there were no signs of nervousness or concern Monday at the Greene County Election Center. While a line of people waited on one side of the building for an in-person absentee ballot, Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller and his staff on the other side were busy preparing for Tuesday’s major shock, distributing voting equipment to volunteers as they went to the town hall. Voting at other polling places in the county.
Things are going well.
“We pre-tested all our election equipment before the election, and we were ready,” Scheler said. “We have a bipartisan team that does this.”
The only possible problem Scheler pointed to for Tuesday’s election is that some voters may appear unaware of Missouri’s new law requiring them to show photo ID before voting. Those without photo ID will have to vote using a provisional ballot, which requires a few extra steps to be counted.
“In the past, you could use a voter ID card to register,” Scheler explained. “But now you have to use your official Missouri driver’s license or non-driver’s license, or your federal passport or military ID.”
Anyone who follows national election coverage knows that there are many concerns about the security of the electoral process and the safety of voters and candidates. The Department of Homeland Security has announced that it is actively looking for threats to election officials and vandalism of ballot boxes, while the Justice Department announced Monday that it will monitor election locations in 24 different states across the country to ensure compliance with voting rights laws.
The department will monitor polling locations 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 this going on, Scheler admits he’s getting more questions from the public these days.
“Yes, in terms of voter integrity,” he said. “If people choose to only listen to what they read on social media, that’s often why we see challenges. People are sharing stories that are inaccurate or not necessarily true.”
People are welcome to come and see the process for themselves, Schoeller said.
“Anyone can come and observe the pre-testing of election equipment,” he noted. “They can watch post-tests where we do the exact same test after the election. We’ll do manual counts after the election so they can watch how we do the manual counts and compare that to the counts from the machines themselves to make sure they match . So these are open for people to witness and observe. All of this is done by a bipartisan team. We welcome people to understand the process because our state constitution does empower people to engage people in our elections Accountability and transparency process. And mistakes are made. Elections are run by people and people make mistakes. But we need to find out if it was a mistake or intentional. You have to trust but verify. Even as a county clerk , I also want people to hold me accountable because I can make mistakes and need to do better. But I also want them to be willing to listen and learn.”
While the rest of the country is calling for law enforcement to go to polling places to ensure voter safety and compliance, Scheler said that won’t happen in Greene County.
“This election we haven’t seen anything that worries us,” he said. “But of course we are prepared for that.”
As for the security of voting machines?
“There is no modem and no online presence with a tabulation device,” Schoeller replied. “Everything is offline, even if we upload the results on election night, the machine where we upload the results is not online. So we do everything we can to make sure our equipment is not compromised.”
He also said the national unrest has not led to fewer volunteers looking 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 reserve judges ready to play on Tuesday, which is a good question.”
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