Despite national trends, the local count on election judges remains strong as the Nov. 4 general election draws closer.

Buchanan County Clerk Mary Baack-Garvey said she hasn’t seen backing out by election officials as much as other areas have due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have really lucked out here in Buchanan County,” said Baack-Garvey, the county’s chief election official. “Our election judges are so dedicated.”

She estimated only a handful of judges have stepped aside because of the

ongoing pandemic.

“Other than that, they have all stepped up to the plate and are ready to work,” Baack-Garvey said.

The county clerk said election judges will be up against a potential record-breaking turnout this November.

“This is going to be a very busy election,” she said. “I think we are going to see probably the highest turnout Buchanan County will ever see.”

Even with a projected heavy turnout, Baack-Garvey said she has the resources she needs to keep everything running smoothly.

“I’m basically tripling up the number of judges at each location and we have had no problems so far in filling those positions,” she said. “So, knock on wood, we’re looking good so far.”

The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 7 in Missouri, while Kansas has a deadline of 21 days prior to the election. Baack-Garvey said the biggest issues for voters is knowing whether or not they are even registered.

“If they are unsure, they just need to call (the Buchanan County Clerk’s) office,” she said. “The sooner the better, that way we can update their address or get them in the system.”

Baack-Garvey also said another issue her office is seeing is knowing the differences between a mail-in ballot, which must be notarized in Missouri, and an absentee ballot, which requires no such notarization as long it’s deemed an absentee ballot.

She also pointed to the expanded criteria for voting absentee in Missouri. Now, because of COVID-19, those who are deemed “at-risk” for contracting or spreading the virus are included in the eligibility to vote by absentee category. Regardless of risk factor, anyone can vote by mail in the November election.

For more information on voting by mail or absentee, contact your county election authority. In Buchanan County, that number is 816-271-1412.

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Mark Zinn can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @KNPNZinn.

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