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JQH Arena will open as polling location this November

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 9:32 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Greene County voters have been able to use Missouri State University as their polling place for recent elections. Now a new larger location on campus will be available for people to cast their ballots.

JQH Arena will open as a central polling location, meaning anyone registered to vote in Greene County could drop in. Before, voters could visit Missouri State’s Welcome Center on election day.

“It Seems like civically the right thing to do, it’s part of our ethical leadership at the university," said Ryan DeBoef, Assistant to the President for Missouri State University.

DeBoef is passionate about offering a polling place on campus.

“The one complicating factor in most years with JQH Arena is the basketball schedule. This year, because of the way things have happened for the NCAA, the basketball season isn’t starting until later in November so that made JQH Arena very available for this sort of thing," he said.

Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller said voters will not be casting their ballots on the court, but in the more accessible areas of the arena: the front lobby and hallways.

“We’ll be able to socially distance all throughout that building there so they have a good voting experience and we don’t have that unnecessary crowding," Schoeller said.

Schoeller said he realizes the chance to vote on campus is exciting, but he said long lines would contradict the purpose of using a larger location. So if possible, use your normal polling place.

“Less crowding means there’s less likelihood if someone is there and is COVID positive for that to be quite the impact it would be if you have a crowding polling location," Schoeller said.

More voters than ever before have decided in-person voting is not worth the risk. According to Schoeller, 12,000 Greene County voters have requested mail-in ballots.

“In 2016, during the entire election, we mailed out 3-thousand during that time period so to think we’re at 4 times that already within the first week of absentee voting, I think that shows voters are thinking about their health, they’re thinking about COVID-19," he said.

In-person absentee voting is available now. You can do that up until the day before the election. Voters can also still request a mail-in ballot.

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