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Parson suspends April municipal elections until June

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Citing the state of emergency order currently in place, Gov. Mike Parson announced the suspension of all April municipal elections until June. 

The executive order comes after dozens of counties petitioned the courts to move the April elections or authorize vote-by-mail amid growing concerns over coronavirus. More than a dozen Missourians have tested positive for COVID-19 this month. 

“Given the growing concern surrounding COVID-19 and the large number of people elections attract, postponing Missouri’s municipal elections is a necessary step to help combat the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of Missouri voters,” Parson said in a statement. “Postponing an election is not easy, but we are all in this together. We are thankful to Secretary Ashcroft and our 116 election authorities for their leadership, cooperation, and commitment to doing what is best for their communities during this time.” 

Ballots already printed for the April 7 elections can be used on June 2, according to the executive order. 

“I deeply appreciate Governor Parson’s quick approval and am thankful to the local election authorities – your county clerks and boards of election – who have worked through developing health concerns to find a unified and secure means of implementing our next election,” Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said. “Missouri has 116 separate election authorities, almost all who are elected in their own right, and we have come together to help protect Missouri voters. These are difficult times, but I am grateful for how we have responded, worked together and come to a resolution that helps every single Missouri voter.”

The deadlines to register to vote (March 11) and filing as a write-in candidate (March 27) remain unchanged in the executive order. 

However, Missourians have until May 20 to apply for an absentee ballot. And absentee ballots may be cast in-person until June 1 and should be received by the election authority by June 2. 

Parson declared a state of emergency on March 13. There have been more than 4,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., and 75 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

In Missouri, businesses, many governmental operations, and most school public school districts have shuttered. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.