Voters in Cooper County will have some tough decisions to make during the June 2 elections.
With a total of 10 wards throughout the county, Cooper County Clerk Sarah Herman said this election will be anything but normal due to COVID-19.
This year’s Municipal Election 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 2. Coters want to obtain an absentee ballot through June 1 at the county clerk’s office, though, Herman said. The Cooper County Courthouse will be open 8 a.m. to noon May 30, as well for those seeking an absentee ballot.
Herman warned voters not to be concerned about the April 7 date at the top of the ballot even though they are voting on June 2.
“I did not have time to repurchase new ballots to say June 2,” Herman said. “We are still able to use the April 7 ballots since the elections was postponed due to the pandemic.”
Turnout for the municipal election typically is low at 12-14% on a normal municipal election. Last year’s elections had a 22% turnout due to a ballot question from the Boonville R-1 School District, Herman said.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still effecting surrounding counties, Herman said the elections could go two ways.
People will either really want to get out, which is why you would see 20%, or they will want to stay home. That is when there is maybe 10% voter turnout because they are worried, she said.
There are several decisions for voters, including Proposition 1 and the Extension Proposition.
Proposition 1 is asking whether Cooper County will continue a county-wide sales tax at the rate of one-half of 1%, for a period of four years, ending December 31, 2024. The tax continuance will fund county road system improvements, including new bridges and culverts.
Voters also will decide if the Extension District in Cooper County can impose an annual levy up to 14 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to fund University of Missouri Extension District programs, equipment and services.
A yes vote will continue educational programs in 4-H youth development, agriculture, Master Gardeners, nutrition, wellness and other Extension programs in Cooper County.
Boonville residents will decide on a the continuation of a one-half of 1% capital improvement tax, along with a license tax waiver for vehicles, both for a period of five years.
Voters in the Village of Windsor will have a question on the ballot to establishd a business license tax. The levy would authorize the Village of Windsor to collect $25 annually on all qualifying businesses within the village boundaries.
The 10 voting wards are at Firm Foundation Four Square Church, United Methodist Church, the Knights of Columbus, Immanuel Lutheran, Blackwater Depot, Clarks Fork Mount Herman Baptist Church on Highway B, Bunceton Community Building, Otterville Senior Center, Pilot Grove Community Building and the Prairie Home Lions Club.
Herman said social distancing will be maintained along with extra judges at every precinct.
“Usually, I have only four because of low turnout but for this election I am going to have six,” Herman said. “I am going to have two election judges waiting outside.”
Those judges will direct voters to follow a blue line. There also will be tape lines spaced six feet apart and voters should wait for election judges to motion to approach when they are ready for the next voter. Voters should have their ID ready for election judges.
Judges in smaller precints will place a number on a voter’s car so they know who is next in line.
“Once it’s safe for them to come in, they will be able to go inside and vote,” Herman said. “My election judges are going to have masks and shields that they will be wearing along with gloves.”
Hand sanitizers and disinfectant sprays also will be available. The only items voters will touch are ballots and pens. Voters will keep the pen.
The June election is a trial run for August and November, Herman said. This is definitely not a normal election because of COVID-19, she said.
“We are learning a new way of doing things so patience is key,” Herman said. “We want to make sure people are as safe as possible, not only the public, but my election judges as well. I only have so many judges and I need them for August and November.”