Light rain, low turnout greets area municipal voters on Tuesday

Posted 4/6/22

A light mist was falling early Tuesday as Sheriff Scott Eiler cast his ballot at Owensville High School where Rural Canaan precinct residents vote.

He said he expected only around 1,400 to 1,500 …

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Light rain, low turnout greets area municipal voters on Tuesday

Posted

A light mist was falling early Tuesday as Sheriff Scott Eiler cast his ballot at Owensville High School where Rural Canaan precinct residents vote.

He said he expected only around 1,400 to 1,500 of the county’s 10,640 registered voters to cast ballots in the April 5 Municipal Election. City Marshal Robert Rickerd, running unopposed for a sixth four-year term as the city’s police chief, figured only 300 total votes might be cast between the city’s two wards. 

Gasconade County Clerk Lesa Lieztow, the election authority for the county, had predicted a 15-percent turnout. There was only one contested race in the city of Owensville for a Ward 1 alderman. Hermann had a mayor’s race and one contested race for an alderman. Both the R-1 and R-2 school districts had elections for two directors with three candidates on the ballot in both the Hermann- and Owensville-based districts respectively. 

Eiler had campaigned door-to-door in the Owensville and Hermann communities and noted it was difficult to pass a tax in most circumstances.

“People will tell you anything you want to hear to get you off their porch,” he said of the mostly positive messages of support he’d received for a half-cent sales tax designated for county and municipal law enforcement.

“We’ve got to do something,” said Eiler about bringing the half-cent sales tax to voters. “There’s never a good time to ask for a tax increase of any kind. But, we had to do something.”

Results of the election were not available at The Republican’s deadline on Tuesday.

Lietzow said mid-day on Tuesday the only issues were ones they’ve dealt with previously. Not enough poll workers.

“Same problem,” said Lietzow. “Just getting (election) judges.”

Of the 64 precinct judges needed for the Municipal Election, 22 were replacements.

“Many of our election judges are working out of their own precincts,” said Lietzow. “I can’t even count how many of those there are. This is the biggest problem of all. It’s thee biggest. I don’t know what to do.”

Precinct judges are paid between $105 and $115 per election. Lietzow said she’s lost experienced election judges to old age and illnesses which preclude them from working the elections any longer. Some quit due to COVID-19 concerns but, “most of them came back. They were willing to work.”

She will be working on developing a new group of election judges this summer and plans to offer training sessions across the county. “It’s a long day,” she acknowledged, “but we’re going to have to do something to attract more judges.”

Turnout was very light in the northwestern corner of the county as only 31 ballots had been cast by 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Morrison/Rural Morrison precinct. The precinct has 281 registered voters.

“They’re just not coming out,” said a precinct judge who spoke with The Republican. The wait time between small groups of voters was between 45 minutes and an hour on several occasions.

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