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Some area races on April 5 will be decided by write-in candidates

Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 5:56 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2022 at 5:57 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Just as we’re dealing with shortages in the supply chain and the work force, Tuesday’s election also has a shortage of candidates as about a dozen races in our KY3 viewing area have no one who’s running.

It was a busy day at Greene County’s Election Center in central Springfield on Monday as volunteers were getting ready and voting machines were being taken out to various locations for Tuesday’s election.

The voter turnout is expected to be between 15-18 percent.

“That’s a little bit higher than normal,” said Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller. “I certainly hope we exceed that. It would be great to see.”

And while election officials would love to see more voters, in some places the voters would like to see more people to vote for.

For example in Willard three alderman races will be decided on Tuesday but in Ward 1 nobody has filed for the seat.

So the winner will be decided by write-in votes which is not that unusual.

“In 2018 we had two seats that were write-in only,” recalled Willard City Clerk Jennifer Rowe. “In 2019 we had one and in 2020 we had one. It seems to be common in smaller towns that not as many people either understand what the process is or know what all it entails. So we don’t have as many interested in serving.”

Write-in candidates present a unique problem for clerks like Rowe.

“Once the county is done counting all the votes we get a certified copy of the results with all the names that were written in and all the votes they had,” Rowe explained. “It’s then my job to vet if they live in that ward and if they’re eligible to serve in that position. Then we call each one to see if they’re interested in taking it. We’ve had many who have no idea that anybody had even written their name in. So it’s always entertaining.”

You’ve no doubt heard of people putting their pets’ names in as write-in candidates or some other strange scenarios.

“We had a situation where a person’s name was written in and there were three people who were registered voters with the same name in that ward,” Schoeller said. “And so they had to go figure out which person it was.”

Another example in Willard was a tie between write-in candidates.

“There were four-or-five of them who all had one vote,” Rowe said.

That race was decided by a coin-flip between two of ‘em.

“Because there were only two who actually wanted the position,” Rowe explained.

So that’s why when no one runs for an office, it’s easy for the few to decide the outcome for the many.

“We don’t want (just) one person who’s designating people for positions of leadership in your government,” Schoeller said. “We can see so many examples present-and-past where that has not been a good method of government. So this is a much better method where we the people get to learn about the candidates who are running and we get to make the decision as to who we want when we get to vote.”

Schoeller also pointed out that there were only three races in Greene County where voters can write-in a name.

Besides Willard the other two races are in Fair Grove and Strafford.

“That’s because during the normal filing period in Strafford and Fair Grove we had candidates who did file to run as write-in candidates,” he said. “So the voters can go in and ask if there’s a write-in candidate for that race and they’re welcome to write that individual’s name. That vote will be tallied up at the end of the night. Any other write-ins will not be eligible unless you’re in Willard where no one filed in the normal filing period. So any name that is written-in for Ward 1 will be eligible to be counted.”

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