Missouri governor: 'Don't go out and vote' if you don't feel safe from coronavirus

Missouri governor: 'Don't go out and vote' if you don't feel safe from coronavirus
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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said voters who don’t feel safe because of the coronavirus pandemic shouldn't vote in person in next week's elections. 

“I hope people feel safe to go out and vote, but if they don’t, you know, the No. 1 thing — their safety should be No. 1,” Parson said during a Thursday press briefing. “If they don’t, then don’t go out and vote.”

Parson signed an executive order March 18 to move elections planned for April 7 to June 2. Voters across the state will vote on city council and school board races as well as local ballot measures. 

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Unlike some other states, in Missouri voters seeking to vote through an absentee ballot are required to file a formal excuse for why they cannot vote in person, leaving most ineligible for remote voting.

The state legislature passed a bill that would allow anyone with a notary’s signature to qualify for mail-in voting, but it awaits Parson’s signature and would only apply to the state’s August election and the November presidential election.

The governor said voting, particularly in local elections, is “one of the most important things you can do.”

Parson said that the Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft provided election clerks with sanitation equipment and protective gear. 

“I’m confident counties and other local elected officials understand what we are up against here and ... above all means, they are going to make sure the safeness is there,” Parson said.