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story.lead_photo.caption Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, right, passes boxes of personal protective equipment to his deputy chief of staff, Harry Roberts, and Callaway County Clerk Ronda Miller. Callaway County was the duo's 13th stop Thursday. When they started, Ashcroft said, the van was filled nearly to capacity with boxed PPE. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft made a stop Thursday at the Callaway County Courthouse to deliver personal protective equipment for election workers ahead of the June 2 election.

Ashcroft plans to visit every Missouri county and will deliver 4,008 face masks, 9,075 distancing strips, 264 bottles of sanitizer (some donated by Weston-based Holladay Distillery), 4,008 face shields and 3,630 posters.

"It gives me the opportunity to talk face-to-face with local election authorities, ask 'Do you need anything?'" Ashcroft said of the decision to make the deliveries in person.

He said he's also hoping to reassure voters that Missouri's elections will be conducted in a manner that maximizes safety for voters and election workers alike. He found the high turnout during the presidential primary encouraging.

"I have faith people will get out, use their suffrage and make their voices heard," Ashcroft said.

Ronda Miller, Callaway County clerk, said around eight of her older poll workers have already opted to retire rather than risking contact with potentially ill voters.

"I completely understand," she said, adding a few new workers have signed up too.

St. Jude Thaddeus Parish Catholic Church, normally Mokane's polling place, has also opted out. Mokane voters will have to vote in Hams Prairie instead.

Miller said interest in absentee voting is up: "We've had about 20 calls today."

The county clerk's office can accept absentee voter applications until May 20, and the ballots may be turned in until 5 p.m. the day before Election Day.

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