Chrismer Says St. Charles County has Low Voter Turnout
St. Charles County Director of Elections Rich Chrismer says three memory cards for voting machines failed this morning, were replaced before polls opened.
Light voter turnout was expected in St. Charles County in this election.
Although Director of Elections Rich Chrismer had originally anticipated 18 percent turnout—by 1 p.m. he revised it to about 10 percent.
"It's pretty bad," he said. "In Lake Saint Louis by 11 a.m. we had over 100 votes cast at most precincts. In St. Peters, we are lucky to have 40."
St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano said he feared a low voter turnout with three of the five main races—including his—being uncontested.
Campaign workers at Progress Park in Wentzville said that turnout had been "light but steady."
At First Baptist Church in Lake Saint Louis, board of aldermen candidate Richard Morris said that he had been campaigning at Transfiguration Church, but left when the trickle of voters had nearly stopped.
Campaigners at First Baptist said the turnout there was much better.
Voting Machine Problems Start the Day
The day started with three memory cards failing before the polls even opened.
Chrismer said the cards are inside the voting machines and tabulate the votes. The cards are among the first things the judges test in the morning, so the Election Authority was able to get new memory cards out to those polling places before 7 a.m.
"They knew right away in the morning, so no one was denied their right to vote," he sad.
If the memory cards were to fail during the day, the ballots would be put in a security sleeve and fed into a different machine in the evening to be counted.
Chrismer said with this election, manually feeding the ballots is not a big deal, in November with anticipated 90 percent turnout, manually feeding ballots would lead to delays in counting.
"It takes longer and it'll be many, many hours longer if it happens in November," he said.
Last week, after testing the 122 voting machines, 12 memory cards had to be replaced.
"We have to check all the equipment, then we're assured they're all working," he said. "We found 12 that failed. I told the County Council, 'I'm tired of having to patch this equipment up.'"
The Election Authority bid out the cost to buy 260 voting machines at $1.2 million. However, because the County only received one bid, County Executive Steve Ehlmann vetoed the purchase. The county council didn't have enough votes to override the veto, so last Tuesday, the council opted to re-bid the items.