Light Voter Turnout in St. Charles County
St. Charles County Director of Elections Rich Chrismer says three memory cards for voting machines failed this morning, were replaced before polls opened.
Light voter turnout was expected in St. Charles County on April 3, and by the end of the day, most election judges said few people showed up.
Although Director of Elections Rich Chrismer had originally anticipated 18 percent turnout, by 1 p.m. he revised his estimate to about 10 percent.
Last year's municipal election had about 15 percent turnout.
"It's pretty bad," he said. "In Lake Saint Louis by 11 a.m. we had over 100 votes cast at most precincts. In St. Peters, we are lucky to have 40."
The day started with three memory cards failing before the polls even opened.
Chrismer said the cards are inside the voting machines and tabulate the votes. The cards are among the first things the judges test in the morning, so the Election Authority was able to get new memory cards out to those polling places before 7 a.m.
"They knew right away in the morning, so no one was denied their right to vote," he said.
If the memory cards were to fail during the day, the ballots would be put in a security sleeve and fed into a different machine in the evening to be counted.
Chrismer said with this election, manually feeding the ballots is not a big deal, in November with anticipated 90 percent turnout, manually feeding ballots would lead to delays in counting.
"It takes longer and it'll be many, many hours longer if it happens in November," he said.
Last week, after testing the 122 voting machines, 12 memory cards had to be replaced.
"We have to check all the equipment, then we're assured they're all working," he said. "We found 12 that failed. I told the County Council, 'I'm tired of having to patch this equipment up.'"
The Election Authority bid out the cost to buy 260 voting machines at $1.2 million. However, because the County only received one bid, County Executive Steve Ehlmann vetoed the purchase. The county council didn't have enough votes to override the veto, so last Tuesday, the council opted to re-bid the items.
School Board Races Drive Attendance
Election judges at three precincts in St. Charles reported less than 10 percent turnout at 5 p.m.
Nearly 185 people voted at Bogey Hills Baptist Church out of 3,000 registered voters.
Election Judge Bill Kendall said he thinks it's just voter fatigue—and perhaps too few issues on the ballot.
"I think we all suffer from it," he said. "When you had to come in in February and then they knew it wouldn't count... (Voters) like to see a balllot with a lot of stuff on it."
Michael Klecz, the husband of school board candidate Marita Malone, spent much of the day outside Bogey Hills Baptist Church off of Muegge Road. He said he felt like many of the people who turned out were teachers and school staff members who had already had their minds made up about whom to support.
The St. Charles Education Association backed newcomer Sheri Bickmeyer and incumbent Tim Bekebrede, whose wife is a teacher in the district.
Cindy Besselman, wife of City Councilman Tom Besselman, stood outside St. John United Church of Christ handing out information about Bickmeyer.
Besselman said she's supporting Bickmeyer, who is a good friend, and believes the board needs someone with children in the schools.