Missouri Gears Up For March 10 Primary

Missouri Gears Up For March 10 Primary

St. Louis County going to all paper ballots

“Super Tuesday” is March 3, with Missouri voters having to wait another week before casting their ballots in the state’s March 10 primary in the race for the U.S. presidency.

Among the Democratic candidates to appear on the Missouri ballot are: Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard, Cory Booker, Joseph R. Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, John K. Delaney, Julián Castro, Deval Patrick, Marianne Williamson, Michael Bennet and Michael R. Bloomberg.

If that’s not enough Democrats for you, there are a host of lesser-known candidates on the lengthy Show-Me-State ballot, including William C. “Bill” Haas of St. Louis.

On the GOP side on March 10 are: Donald J. Trump, Bob Ely, Bill Weld, Joe Walsh and Matthew John Matern.

“It’s a shame that the ballot will include some candidates who have officially dropped out of the race at this point,” said Louise Wilkerson of the Metro St. Louis League of Women Voters. “The ballots get printed ahead of time and can be a little outdated.

“We will post on our League website which candidates have dropped out as a service to voters,” Wilkerson added.

Libertarian, Green and members of the Constitution parties have a place on the March 10 ballot as well. Green Party candidates are Howie Hawkins, Dario Hunter and David Rolde. Constitution candidates are Don J. Grundmann and Don Blankenship, and the Libertarian candidate is Jacob Hornberger.

Missouri once held caucuses later in the primary cycle. Now, state voters will go to the polls for the presidential primary one week after Super Tuesday, along with voters in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota and Washington state.

Missouri Republicans will have a choice in the presidential primary. GOP election officials in some states have blocked names other than Donald J. Trump on their primary ballots.

Several election analysts predict the party presidential nominees will be decided after Super Tuesday and the March 10 contest that includes Missouri. Others predict a brokered convention for Democrats with so many candidates on the ballot, if no one breaks out from the pack in March elections.

County’s Paper Ballots

St. Louis County has updated its voting equipment for the 2020 elections. All ballots will be cast on paper and the familiar touch screens of the past have been eliminated.

Voters in St. Louis City will continue to have the option of touch screen voting or paper ballots on the March 10 presidential primary.

In September the St. Louis County Elections Board signed a $6.9 million contract with Hart InterCivic to provide new voting machines and software that operates a paper ballot system. The price tag was about $3 million less than the county paid for its old voting system, which has come under criticism.

“We have new equipment. It’s all been tested. We have plenty of poll workers and we will have technical people out in the field on March 10. We are all ready to go,” said Rick Stream.

Republican Stream and Democrat Eric Fey are county election directors. Together they have hosted open houses since for the public to view the new equipment and practice casting ballots.

“We had 550 people at one of our open houses,” said Stream. “There is a lot of interest in this election. Poll workers showed up because they want to be informed and know what is going on with the new equipment.

“Our goal is to insure that the voting is a dull, boring experience. People come in, vote, and leave – very efficient,” said Stream. “We want all the exciting stuff to stay with the campaigns.”

Stream said the election board looked for simple, reliable and less expensive equipment for voting.

“We will have enough paper ballots and we are streamlining things to get the right precinct ballots into the right voters’ hands,” said Stream. “That has been a problem sometimes in the past.

“We are not using an App, which was a problem in Iowa earlier in this election cycle,” added Stream. “We are not using anything that can be hacked, which a lot of voters are concerned about after all the stories about hacking. We are hoping for an uneventful election here on March 10, but we are prepared if any issues arise.”

Using Ballot-on-Demand

The St. Louis County Elections Board recently released instructions for voters on use of the paper ballot-on-demand system, which it describes as a five-step process. The instructions are in preparation for the March 10 vote:

First, voters walk into a polling place, and show a poll worker identification, then receive the ballot from a poll worker and proceed to the voting booth.

Second, using a blue or black pen, the voters fills in the box to the left of the choice of candidate or issue.

Third, in the case of wanting to vote for a write-in candidate, the voter fills in the box completely next to the words “Write-In” and writes the candidate’s name on the line provided.

Fourth, if a voter makes a mistake, the voter asks an election officer for a new ballot. (The old ballot will be voided).

Fifth, and finally, the voter deposits the ballot in a ballot box to cast the vote.

West End Word

Mar 4, 2020

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