With numerous tax questions on the ballot, Pettis County Clerk Nick La Strada hopes to see an increase in voter turnout for the April 4 municipal election.
La Strada said absentee voting started slowly, but things have been picking up the last few weeks; no-excuse voting started two weeks before the election. Thursday morning, he said the Clerk’s Office was averaging 25 to 30 voters a day over the last two weeks, plus they’ve already received hundreds of mailed absentee ballots.
“There are eight questions or tax issues on the ballot, which is a lot. It’s been a lot of questions, people wanting to understand and educating themselves as much as possible,” he said of hearing from voters.
He noted that the absentee tracking system, implemented a few years ago, has benefited voters and his employees. When voters receive a mailed absentee ballot, they also receive a code to track it online to see when it arrives at the Clerk’s Office. La Strada said his office can also follow it to see it move through the postal system.
According to La Strada, the 2022 municipal election had a 21.88% registered voter turnout, higher than the 17.88% turnout in 2021. Based on those numbers, the current total for absentee ballots, and the high interest in tax questions, La Strada said he predicts a 22-24% turnout on Tuesday.
“If we hit that, that would be one of the higher turnouts in a long time,” he said. “… I do feel, in any local elections, these are the ones that are very, very important. I can tell people are calling and taking their time, making sure they’re reading the tax issues or ballot initiatives before they go vote.”
The Clerk’s Office will use its new tabulation equipment during the municipal election. La Strada said the previous equipment was about seven years old and needed to be replaced. The County entered a new agreement with ES&S, which also provides voting equipment in Johnson and Cooper counties. La Strada said his office used grant money to purchase the equipment.
La Strada said the new equipment is user-friendly and includes several features that will make Election Night more efficient for poll workers, who have been training with the equipment over the last two weeks.
La Strada noted Pettis County is the first in the country to utilize the latest version of the ES&S equipment.
La Strada wanted to point out that online results on Election Night will look different this year due to a new system. He said users should refresh the pettisclerk.com homepage, not the results PDF page, to see updates. He said once the page is refreshed and new precincts are being reported, the “April 4, 2023 Unofficial Results” button will change colors and the time will update.
The last day to register to vote in the April election was March 8. People can change their address even on Election Day if they moved within Pettis County, but anyone who moved from a different county is considered a new registration.
No-excuse voting is available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 1 at the Pettis County Annex, 215 E. Fifth St. The last day to absentee vote is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, April 3.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Voters can find their polling location, check if they are registered, and view a sample ballot at pettisclerk.com. For more information, visit pettisclerk.com or facebook.com/PettisCountyElectionsOffice or call the Clerk’s office at 660-826-5000 ext. 918 or La Strada’s cellphone at 660-281-7767.
The following contested races and issues will be on Pettis County ballots, although ballots will vary depending on where a voter lives.
Chris Marshall (incumbent) and Becca La Strada.
Scott Gardner (incumbent), Brad Grupe, Pam Moon and Dale Garrett.
Katie Tucker, Tim Carter, Bobby Brown, Tegan Tucker and Laura Brooks Weisenburger.
Dr. Janeene Williams (incumbent), Steve Jolly (incumbent), Sherry Killion (incumbent), Troy Gorrell and Matthew Kahrs.
Sara Moore (incumbent), Dennis Steele (incumbent), Devin Gaspard and Todd Asbury.
Leah Mahin (incumbent), Linda Davis (incumbent), Katie Hall (incumbent), Justin Furnell and Ashley Martin.
John Nail (incumbent), Rhiannon Foster and Sherri Egbert.
Phyllis Domann (incumbent), Lynn Alexander, Dr. Philip Fracica, Matthew Smith, Heather Slagle and Mike Kroeger.
Shall Pettis County, Missouri impose a countywide sales tax of three percent (3%) on all tangible personal property retail sales of adult use marijuana sold in Pettis County, Missouri?
Shall the county of Pettis impose a landfill fee of $1.50 per ton or volumetric equivalent of solid waste?
Shall the Fire Protection District #1 of Pettis County, Missouri extend its boundaries to include all property formerly protected by the Houstonia Rural Fire Association?
Shall the City of Sedalia, Missouri impose a city sales tax of Three Percent (3%) on the sales of adult use marijuana sold at retail?
Shall the Board of Education of the La Monte R-IV School District, Missouri, without an estimated increase in the current debt service property tax levy, borrow money in the amount of Two Million One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($2,100,000) for the purpose of providing funds to renovate and expand the Library Media Center; to construct, equip, and furnish a new maintenance facility; to repair the North Wall at the Old Gymnasium; to replace the Gymnasium roof; to complete technology and safety upgrades District-wide; to the extent funds are available, complete other repairs and improvements to the existing facilities of the District; and issue general obligation bonds for the payment thereof?
If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the School District is estimated to remain unchanged at $0.9246 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property.
Shall the Board of Education of the Sedalia School District No. 200 of Pettis County, Missouri, be authorized to make permanent the current temporary operating tax levy of $0.8628 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation without an estimated increase in the levy in order to provide funds to complete extensive renovations at Sedalia Middle School, Smith-Cotton Junior High School, Horace Mann Elementary, and Washington Elementary/Whittier High School; to reconfigure existing buildings to allow for better distribution of students; to complete other renovations, remodeling and repair improvements to the existing facilities of the District; and to fund maintenance, supplies, staffing and other operating needs of the District?
If this proposition is approved, the current adjusted operating tax levy of the District of $4.0628 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation is to continue unchanged and the existing temporary levy of $0.8628 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation will become permanent after-tax year 2026.
Shall the Board of Education of the Cole Camp R-I School District, Missouri be authorized to increase the operating tax levy to $3.2500 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation and to eliminate fully the Proposition C Sales Tax Rollback in its operating levy under Section 164.013 R.S.Mo. in order to provide additional funds to improve and maintain its facilities and meet the operating expenses of the District?
If this proposition is approved, the adjusted operating levy of the School District is estimated to increase from $2.7500, currently, to $3.2500 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation for the 2023 Tax Year and will be applied to the assessed valuation for each year thereafter.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.
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