New Look at Polls

Voters Tuesday will be greeted by the same county election staff, but they will be behind protective Plexiglas guards. Guards like this one displayed by Franklin County Clerk Tim Baker will be in place as voters sign in and are part of the several COVID-19 safety precautions. In addition to the guards, wipes, hand sanitizer and the option to use their own pens are available to voters. The wearing of masks are optional. Missourian Photo.

Franklin County Clerk Tim Baker says there are many unknowns going into the general municipal election Tuesday, but encourages county residents to get out and vote.

All of the county’s 40-plus polling places are open and extreme measures are being taken to make election staff and voters feel comfortable and safe.

Baker has stressed personal choice in the wearing of masks and use of personal pens to fill out ballots.

The average voter turnout for April municipal elections is historically 15 to 20 percent, but this year with COVID-19 fears and limited ballot issues in certain parts of the county turnout predictions are a toss-up.

Baker admits the election Tuesday will set the tone for the next two larger elections in Franklin County in 2020.

As of now, he doesn’t expect a huge turnout for the Aug. 4 statewide primary election since there aren’t any national races and only one county office being contested.

That is a four-way race for the second district commissioner seat representing the southern portion of the county.

During the abbreviated Missouri legislative session a resolution was passed to put Medicaid expansion on the August ballots for Missouri voters to decide.

Baker said that issue may increase the voter turnout for Franklin County.

Before the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Baker anticipated a large turnout for the November presidential election but that is a subject of debate now.

With an overall voter turnout of 71 percent in the county, just under 51,000 voters cast ballots in the November 2016 general election, marking the highest turnout in county history.

Polling Places

There has been one change in polling places for the June 2 election.

Voters in Washington’s Ward 4, who previously voted at city hall, will now cast their ballots next door at the Washington Public Library.

“The library will have a better flow,” Baker said. “Without the regular traffic of people coming in to do city business.”

Baker explained voting will be done in a conference room at the library and voters will not have to enter the library itself to access the polling place.

Although the library still has strict guidelines on patrons, voters will again be able use personal choice when entering the polling place.

Text Messages

Another new idea being tried this year is texting county residents to remind them to vote Tuesday and it won’t cost taxpayers a dime..

The texts will be facilitated through all of the school districts in the county who are able to text parents of students with information throughout the year.

“We won’t reach every voter, but it should reach about two-thirds of them,” Baker said. “If they aren’t registered voters, maybe it will remind them they need to register. We hope to make this the new norm.”

Baker added Franklin County is the first in the state to use the mass texting on an Election Day.

All polls in Franklin County open at 6 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m.

Election results will be posted throughout the evening on the county clerk’s website at www.franklinmo.org/county_clerk.

The Missourian will have election summaries on its website Wednesday morning at www.emissourian.com.

Polling Places for Larger Municipalities

Washington

Washington Ward 1, American Legion Hall, 1007 E. Third St., Washington.

Washington Ward 2, Headquarters Fire Station, 14th St., Washington.

Washington Ward 3, KC Hall, 1121 Columbus Lane, Washington.

Washington Ward 4, Washington Public Library, 410 Lafayette St., Washington.

Union

Union Ward 1, City Hall Council Room 3, 500 E. Locust, Union.

Union Ward 2, St. Paul Lutheran Church, 208 W. Springfield Ave., Union.

Union Ward 3, First Methodist Church, 848 W. Main St., Union.

Union Ward 4, East Central College, 1964 Prairie Dell Road, Union.

Union Out of Town, Union Fire Station 1, 1401 W. Springfield Ave., Union.

St. Clair

St. Clair Ward 1, St. Clair City Hall, 1 Paul Parks Drive, St. Clair.

St. Clair Ward 2, St. Clair City Hall, 1 Paul Parks Drive, St. Clair.

St. Clair Out of Town, St. Clair Elks Lodge, 35 E. North St., St. Clair.

Pacific

Pacific Ward 1, Pacific Eagles Club, 707 W. Congress, Pacific. 

Pacific Ward 2, Pacific Eagles Club, 707 W. Congress, Pacific.

Pacific Ward 3, Tri-County Senior Center, 800 W. Union St., Pacific.  

Pacific Out of Town, Tri-County Senior Center, 800 W. Union St., Pacific.