Greene County Clerk, Sheriff's Office Working to Ensure Positive Voting Experience

Nov 6, 2016

Greene County Sheriff’s deputies will be on scene at various polling locations Election Day wearing plain clothes, a badge and a concealed weapon.

That’s according to County Clerk Shane Schoeller, who says the decision is in response to safety concerns expressed by voters and election judges “due to the tension and conflict they have witnessed or experienced related to this election cycle.”

Voters line up to vote in the April municipal elections in south Springfield.
Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU

Schoeller says he made the request to Sheriff Jim Arnott, who agreed.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the clerk said that “safety and access must be balanced to ensure voters have confidence they can vote in a safe and non-threatening environment.”

Deputies will also be on hand to assist in a non-partisan role, says Schoeller, anytime a citizen needs to vote touchscreen or audio ballot. For deputies that are roving throughout Election Day, he’s requested they only respond when called upon rather than visiting a polling location intermittently.

Schoeller cited instances this year when election judges had to call law enforcement to respond to disorderly situations at their polling locations. He adds that large groups of voters could increase the likelihood of rising tensions, noting that upwards of 120,000 Greene County citizens are expected to cast a ballot Tuesday.

“If an incident occurred and we were not properly prepared to respond, questions would certainly be raised as to why there was not a plan and those concerns would be valid. We want to be proactive and plan accordingly to ensure we are prepared,” Schoeller said.

Additionally, he said the clerk’s office has been working for months to ensure a positive voting experience on Election Day. That includes positioning a solutions table at each polling location to help voters, if needed, plus having additional judges and voting equipment on hand.

You can learn more about your polling location here.