St. Francois County voters were asked to pass a use/internet sales tax for public safety.
The Prop P measure passed by a close margin of 54.02% with a total of 5,212 yes to 4,436 no votes.
Associate Commissioner Kary Buckley spearheaded the campaign to approve Prop. P primarily to increase funding for the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department. He stated he was happier with the passage of the measure than when he was elected commissioner.
“It was close, really close. We had a lot of good help, it wasn’t just me; it was the deputies and other folks.”
Sheriff Dan Bullock spoke of his excitement at getting additional funding for his department to hire new deputies and upgrade equipment.
“I told this bunch that work for me that I wished they’d worked this hard to get me elected,” he said. “I’m ecstatic, I’m proud of the (deputies) and the townspeople that got together and worked so hard to get this passed, especially in this day and time.
“Gas and food prices are high and people are having a tough time getting by and then to be able pass this. We want to thank the citizens of St. Francois County for getting behind us and getting this done. There were business leaders that got involved and different people around the county that made this thing happen.
“There was a bit of organized effort against this Prop. P, and this day and time when people don’t trust the government that had something to do with it, but we pulled it off.”
Bullock again thank the community for passing the measure as a way of supporting law enforcement.
“I talk to sheriffs all over the United States and they sure don’t get the support that we get right here in St. Francois County,” he said.
Voter turnout near 30%
Also pleased was St. Francois County Clerk Kevin Engler.
With a significantly higher voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election than in April’s municipal election and a rapid return of results countywide despite a phone system glitch that kept the election results from being posted online, Engler was all smiles when everything was said and done, and most of the hard work was complete about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“You know, it went very well,” he said. “We had a few glitches like we always do. We had some machines to go down — and for the first time ever — the Courthouse Annex and the Weber St. Facility phone system went off. It had nothing to do with the voting, and yet it had to happen on election day. So, that presented some challenges, but we got around them.
“Our poll workers did a great job. Our ladies in here did a great job. We got done by 8:30! We got everybody. We got them all in here, we processed them quickly, and we came down to the right number of votes, so I don’t think any of the races are within the margin of error that will need a recount, I’ll have to go back and look, but it couldn’t have been any cleaner.”
Engler offered his thoughts on the 27% of registered St. Francois County voters who turned out for Tuesday’s election.
“When you go through an April ballot, and only 8% of the people vote, and you have nearly 30% in August, it just seems like an unbelievable amount of difference. It is quite a bit of difference, but if you think about it, 30% of our registered voters are only like 25% of the people eligible to vote in this county. To me, that’s still pathetic, but it’s better than the April election. We’re hoping to get that number up into the 50s, close to 60% in November.”
Engler expressed his thanks for the many volunteers and county workers who helped the election run smoothly.
“We’re thankful for all of our workers,” he said. “It’s tough to find people that are willing to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and come out and for one day — minimum pay — work the polls and do it with a lot of integrity. We couldn’t do it without those people and all the people we imposed upon to use their buildings … it’s a big project.
“We’ve got maintenance guys taking equipment all over this county to 20-something locations. Without everybody pulling together, it wouldn’t come off. I’m very pleased that everything came down to the perfect number of votes and done by 8:30. That’s pretty good.”
Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at email@example.com