Monroe County addresses voting concerns due to coronavirus

Monroe County Clerk and Recorder Jonathan McLean has advice for voters ahead of Tuesday’s primary election amid concerns about the coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19.

McLean advised people to join the nearly 800 residents who have already cast ballots.

“If people want to vote early, we will be here Monday until 6 p.m.,” McLean said, adding that more than 60 residents took advantage of early voting on Saturday morning.

He also noted that vote-by-mail, also known as the absentee ballot, is finished.

Those wishing to vote Monday at the courthouse can be assured that steps have been taken to sanitize high-traffic areas and touchpoints on voting machines, McLean said.

For those voting Tuesday at their respective polling place, McLean said his office is working with the Monroe County Health Department to ensure all polling locations have hand soap, warm water and towels.

McClean did express concern about the use of hand sanitizer prior to voting. The paper ballots can be compromised if they come in contact with liquid sanitizer since they contain alcohol. He recommends voters wait until after voting to sanitize and to not wash their hands or use sanitizer immediately before voting.

He also said technicians that work with electronic voting machines will be on hand to clean machines every couple hours to help prevent the spread of any disease.

In response to the Illinois Department of Public Health recommendation that senior care facilities restrict visitor access, in-person resident voting at Oak Hill in Waterloo is in question.

Monroe County State’s Attorney Chris Hitzemann filed an emergency petition for injunctive relief to allow an alternative form of mail voting at Oak Hill. The petition was approved Friday afternoon. The ballots were given to Oak Hill administrator Kim Keckritz, who will oversee resident voting and return these ballots in the mail by self-addressed, stamped envelopes provided by the clerk’s office.

For more information, call the clerk’s office at 618-939-8681, ext. 302.

To find your polling place, click here.

Pick up the March 11 issue of the Republic-Times newspaper for a preview of all contested primary races. For a list of rack locations, click here.

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