Poll workers from all over St. Francois County gathered for election training last week.
The sessions were held at the county’s Weber Road Facility in the training room. In order to accommodate the roughly 200 poll workers, County Clerk Kevin Engler split the volunteers into four different groups throughout the day.
“We’re trying to familiarize them with all the rules,” Engler said. “The electronics involved, what they have to do, what happens if this jams.”
For the upcoming election, Engler is adding two people to his staff to deal with issues that will arise on election day and will add another two next year.
“We’re trying to spread four supervisors around the county, so that they can get to any polling place in 10 minutes,” he said.
Engler forecasts a low turnout for the April 2 election based upon historical precedence for these types of elections and some areas in the county having very few races or ballot issues.
“We expect a higher turnout of over 10 percent in areas with competitive questions,” he said. “For instance, the city of Desloge, there’s a question on there, a tax for public safety. Bonne Terre, there’s a question about real estate tax. There’s some places that only have the school board, and there’s no contested races. So we expect a lower than 10 percent turnout for those areas.”
Due to the purging of inactive voters, Engler stressed that there may be issues at the polls with some voters not being registered to vote. He tells voters that they need to stay updated on their registration even if they don’t vote very often.
“If you haven’t voted in the past two presidential [elections] and you have not responded to any letters, we’re going to purge you,” he said. “We have too many people on the roles that are considered inactive voters. If you get inadvertently taken off, you can always re-register. We don’t want 4,500 inactive people on the rolls. We start getting to point where we have more people on the rolls than we have in the county.”
Engler addressed a unique situation in the Farmington City Council election regarding the late councilman John Crouch.
“John [Crouch] passed away the day after the last day that he could legally be removed the ballot,” he said. “It’s eight weeks and it would have been on Tuesday and he died on Wednesday. That Friday I am sending out the veteran’s overseas ballots. The next week we started absentee ballots. There’s a practical reason for that, it gets to the point that you can’t print the ballots.”
Since Crouch’s name is on the ballot, voters can still vote for him, Engler explained, and if Crouch should win the race, the mayor of the city of Farmington would appoint someone to fill his term of office.