Election Officials Say April Ballot Shortage Problems Fixed for Tuesday's Primary

Election Officials Say April Ballot Shortage Problems Fixed for Tuesday's Primary

It's a crucial, statewide Missouri primary race this Tuesday and many are hoping it goes off without a hitch after a major ballot shortage plagued April's election in St. Louis County.

"It was pretty much the worst nightmare for any election administrator," Director of Elections Eric Fey said.

Fey was one of the two in charge when 60 polling places were impacted by the ballot shortage. The other director, Gary Fuhr, decided to retire after April's election.

"The Presidential primary was moved to just three weeks before the April municipal election so our employees were spread extremely thin and were performing multiple duties outside of what they normally do," Fey said.

Fey admits the proper checks weren't done to ensure a smooth election.

Another issue at play during April's municipal election was the fact that electronic voting machines weren't used. Fey says his staff couldn't get the machines ready in time because of the quick turnaround from March's Presidential primary race. Typically, 75-80% of voters choose the electronic voting method.

In response, the Missouri Secretary of State's office and state legislators launched investigations and made recommendations to fix any future issues.

"The recommendations they made to us, we took to heart, and we're trying to implement here," Fey said. "That's my main focus moving forward,"

Those recommendations include making sure every employee is trained on proper proofing procedures to make sure enough ballots are available and a contingency plan is in place if there's any indication of a shortage on election day.

A spokesperson for Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander said in a statement:

"St. Louis County election officials took full responsibility for ballot shortages in the April election and cooperated fully in the outside review of Secretary Kander's Elections Integrity Unit review. Additionally, the board has worked to incorporate the review's recommendations to ensure that every eligible voter has the opportunity to cast a ballot in every election."

Missouri State Representative Courtney Allen Curtis is one of the lawmakers who launched an investigation in the state legislature.

"I don't buy the fact that they had a tight turnaround time between the Presidential and the municipals," Curtis said. "The municipal elections, because there are so many of them, they're clearly the bigger issue over the Presidential so they could have made the decision to do the electronic balloting in the municipal election where we have more people coming to the polls than the Presidential primary, but they didn't make that choice."

Cutris is just hoping April ballot blunders don't keep people at home on Tuesday.

"It's a Constitutional right that we have." Curtis said. "Some people didn't have that right. After Ferguson, the individuals that went to the polls to vote that had regained some trust in the system or wanted to make sure the system was working. For them, they saw that it didn't work for them because they were deprived of the right that people have fought and died for."

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