Absentee Voting Smashes Records As General Election Day Nears
With nearly a full week left before election day, 12 percent of Ripley County voters have cast an absentee ballot.
County clerk Becky York said that 935 absentee votes had been cast as of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday with many more expected over the next five business days. The clerk’s office in the courthouse will be open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday for those unable to make it during the week. Deadline to vote absentee is 5 p.m. Monday.
Rules for absentee voting were adjusted this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
No doubt, the 2020 general election will smash records in Ripley County and most other places as voters settle the presidential race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden among other things.
York, in her 26th year as county clerk, said the 2020 race already has smashed records for absentee voter turnout locally.
“Our previous biggest election was in 2016 when we had 532 absentee votes cast,” York said.
Locally, only two county races are contested as several others were settled in the August primary.
Republican Randi Ederer and Democrat Mark Schroeder are on the ballot for assessor. Incumbent eastern district commissioner Gary Emmons has a Democrat challenger in Gene Buckhanan.
ll decide two local ballot questions involving a proposed use tax and a non-binding question affecting county special road districts.
The use tax proposal for the county has been on the ballot several times. In June’s municipal election, it was defeated by just 23 votes.
Approval would have allowed the county to collect from the state its share of sales taxes paid on purchases from out-of-state vendors. Local governments are unable to collect the revenue without voter approval. City of Doniphan and Naylor voters both have approved it, allowing their cities to collect the revenue.
The special road district question was placed on the ballot by the county commission. It asks:
“Shall the Jordan Special Road District, Pine-Bardley Special Road District, Doniphan Special Road District, Ponder-Gatewood Special Road District, Purman Special Road District, and Naylor Spoecial Road District, organized under the provisions of sections 233.170 to 233.315, be combined into one special district?”
City of Naylor voters will be asked to approve a special $500,000 bond election for the purpose of building a combined waterworks and sewage system.
Ripley County will have new representation in both the state house and senate starting in January. The seat for Missouri Senate District 33 will be settled Nov. 3 between Republican Karla Eslinger of Ozark County and Democrat Tammy Harty of Ripley County.
Republican Darrell Atchison of Williamsville is unopposed for state representative for District 153 after winning the August primary over two opponents.
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican, is facing the same Democrat challenger that he defeated in 2018 in Democrat Kathy Ellis from Jefferson County.
Two state amendments will be decided on Nov. 3.
Amendment One asks voters if they wish to create two-term limits for the state offices of lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor and attorney general. Presently, only the offices of governor and state treasurer are limited to two terms.
Amendment 3 would ban gifts from paid lobbyists to legislators and their employees. It also would reduct legislative campaign contribution limits while changing the redistricting process voters approved in 2018.
Several state positions will be decided as well. They include the office of governor, where incumbent Mike Parsons, a Republican, faces Democrat challenger Nicole Galloway.
At the county level, those unopposed for new terms in the general election include Circuit Judge Michael Pritchett, sheriff Mike Barton, coroner Mike Jackson and surveyor Troy Ayers.
Also unopposed are new candidates who were winners in the August primary. Taking office on Jan. 1 will be Keith Whiteside, western district commissioner, and Donna Barnett, public administrator. Both are Republicans.
See Page 11 of this week’s P-N for a full ballot and list of polling locations.