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Voter registration deadline today

County Clerk Mark Hedrick, standing, explains the voter registration process for the Aug. 7 primary election in St. Francois County to the county commission. The deadline to register at Hedrick's office in the courthouse annex in Farmington is 5 p.m. today.

If you are a St. Francois County resident planning to vote in the Aug. 7 primary election and you haven’t registered, you’d better head over to the county courthouse as soon as possible because today is the last day you can do so.

County Clerk Mark Hedrick discussed the registration process with the county commissioners when they met in regular session Tuesday morning at the courthouse annex in Farmington.

“Wednesday, July 11 is the last day to register to vote for the August election,” he said. “The office will be open until 5 p.m., so if you haven’t registered and you need to register to vote in August, then you better do it tomorrow — 30 days before the election — because if you don’t, you can’t vote.

“You can also register at any of the city halls in the county. You can also register online with the secretary of state’s office. We have been receiving quite a few registrations, so there’s been a lot of pick up on it. There’s been a lot of advertisement about tomorrow being the last day to register for the August election.”

Hedrick was asked by a visitor in the gallery if he was familiar with so-called “third parties” who were registering people.

“There’s always third parties out there,” he said. “I mean, there’s umpteen million third parties. Any of the voting-type organizations — they’re sort of a third party. We get registration cards in the mail from them.”

Asked by Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher to further explain the term “third party,” Hedrick said, “It would be like any of the organizations, such as the [League of Women Voters]. They would do voter registration forms and they would be sent in and then we have to verify all the information.”

Gallaher asked, “I was under the understanding that the voter had to bring in the voter registration card — so that’s not true?”

Hedrick responded, “No, that’s not true. Those come in the mail. It’s in something sort of like an envelope thing. It’s all sealed up and the voter sends that in as a registration thing. Now the thing is, they send it in and we put it in. We verify that to make sure they’re not registered somewhere else.

“When they vote they don’t get a voter identification card. They get a letter that we’ve received their registration. Before they get a voter identification card, they have to show identification.”

Gallaher said, “So, they show IDs at the polls during the election.”

Hedrick said, “Then they get the voter identification card — not until that happens — on any mail-in application. We have mail-in registrations all the time. We get them from everywhere. Now we get all the ones from the secretary of state’s office online.

"That is the new way to do it, which was approved by the legislature that they can do it online. Adding the online registration, I think, will increase the number of voters registering, but it’s still the same thing. They will not get a voter identification card until they vote for the first time.”

Hedrick believes the uptick in voter registration for the August election is in part due to Proposition A being on the ballot regarding “Right to Work” in the state of Missouri.

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Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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