Tuesday, Aug. 6 will be a county-wide special election with just one issue on the majority of voter’s ballots. Voters in the City of Elsberry, the Wright City Fire Protection District and the Warren County R-3 School District will have an additional question on their ballot. My staff and I have been planning for the 2020 Presidential Election Cycle since the completion of the 2018 midterm election, and Aug. 6 will give us the opportunity to validate those plans. With the Special Election less than three weeks away, I would like to take a moment to notify voters of some changes that my office has implemented.
Since I began my tenure as your County Clerk, my office has received numerous telephone calls on every election day from parents who are upset about the use of the public-school buildings as polling places for people to vote. I have long struggled with this issue because in our County, the number of buildings suitable for use as a polling place is limited. The school buildings make such fantastic locations because they are built specifically for public access with ample parking and all of the features required to make a great polling place. Even with the additional security provided by Sheriff’s Deputies, the tragic frequency with which our society has witnessed school violence has led me to exercise an abundance of caution and remove the voting polls from the public schools.
The primary goal set forth when we began studying solutions was to secure the schools. Secondary goals included reducing the number of polling places that we must provide staffing, supplies, and equipment for each election as well as eliminating the use of less than ideal facilities. To that end, I have approved the following changes.
The voters of the Birkhead Precinct who previously voted at the Cuivre Park Elementary School Gymnasium will now vote at the Abundant Life Baptist Church located at the southwest corner of Ridge Road and Highway 47, the physical address is 21 South Ridge Road in Troy. Letters were mailed to each household in the precinct notifying voters of the details of the change.
The Silex Precinct has been divided geographically and voters have been assigned to vote in the Millwood, the Briscoe or the Whiteside Precinct. Detailed letters were also sent to each household that this change impacts.
The Foley Precinct, while not in a school, was in a location with less than favorable parking, which made access to the building difficult for persons with an ambulatory disability. This precinct was also divided geographically along the school district lines. The voters who live in the Elsberry School District will vote at the Elsberry American Legion Hall located at 111 Legion Drive in Elsberry. The voters who live in the Winfield School District will vote at the Winfield First Baptist Church located at 3700 East Highway 47 in Winfield.
Detailed letters were sent to the households affected by this change.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to remind all voters of the county of the availability of absentee voting, which begins six weeks prior to every election. If you expect to be absent from your precinct on election day, you may request an absentee ballot in person, or, submit an application to have a ballot mailed to you. If you have a handicap that prevents you from going to the polls, or, if you are the care provider for an incapacitated voter, you qualify to be placed on the permanent absentee list.
Voters on our permanent list will automatically receive an absentee application for each election.
Another option that we offer for the convenience of voters is the Central Poll located in the upstairs courtroom of the Courthouse on Main Street in Troy. The Central Poll is a vote center which means that any registered voter of the county may vote there if it is convenient for you and it is open every election day from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. just like a traditional precinct-based polling place.
My office is also gearing up to perform the biennial canvass of registered voters. This process is required by law to be completed every two years prior to a Primary Election. We are currently processing addresses using the National Change of Address data that is maintained by the U.S.P.S. to attempt to reach as many registered voters as possible with the first mailing. Registrant confirmation notices will be mailed in the fall of 2019. All active registered voters will then be mailed a new voter identification card in early 2020.
Additionally, my website has been updated and we have an improved election night reporting site for the public to view election results. To view election information such as absentee applications, polling place addresses, sample ballots and election results, please visit my website at www.lcclerk.com and follow the Lincoln County Clerk & Election Authority page on Facebook.
If you wish to visit us in person, we are in Room 104 of the Courthouse on Main Street in Troy, or, call us at (636) 462-8090 with questions.
Regular office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
I know that change is generally not popular, but it is my hope that those affected can understand my reasoning and trust that my staff and I have put much thought into these changes in order to make the process of exercising your right to vote as convenient as possible.
While convenience is important to us all, I must also ensure the safety of all parties involved and maintain the fiscal responsibilities that you have entrusted me with as your County Clerk.