County clerk says map error didn't affect Ozark alderman election

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OZARK, Mo. - Christian County Clerk Kay Brown says she will meet with Ozark city officials on April 12 to make sure she has the right information on Ozark Board of Alderman ward boundaries. The meeting follows the discovery that at least one person received the wrong ballot in the municipal election last Tuesday.

The discrepancy between county and city records is in the boundary line between Ward 2 and Ward 3. One man said he lives in Ward 3 but got a ballot for Ward 2 when he was at his polling place.

Brown says that man, Jordan Saylor, is the only voter who has contacted her. She doesn’t know if other voters might have wrongly received the wrong ward ballots. She believes her office has the ward boundary wrong for one street in the Rolling Prairie neighborhood.

In the election on Tuesday, Ward 3 had an uncontested race for the Board of Aldermen. In Ward 2, incumbent Ted Smith beat challenger Joseph Gunya 362 – 236, according to the unofficial count on Tuesday night. Brown said that difference of 126 is greater than the number of voters that her office might have wrongly placed in Ward 2 instead of Ward 3, so she doesn’t believe the mistake affected the election result. In the polling place where Saylor voted, Smith received 104 votes and Gunya received 34.

Brown, in a telephone interview on Friday, said the discrepancy could be because the city and her office use different computer software. She said she will work to communicate better with city officials to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again.

Ozark City Administrator Steve Childrers did not return a call to a reporter on Friday, but Childers told the Christian County News Headliner that he’s confused about why Brown’s office had the wrong boundaries. He told the newspaper that the city last changed its ward boundaries in 2012 and the Rolling Prairie subdivision has been in the city much longer than that.