Some polling places beset by ballot problems stayed open late in - KMOV.com

Some polling places beset by ballot problems stayed open late in STL Co

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - A few polling places in St. Louis County with ballot problems on Tuesday stayed open until 9 p.m.

The ruling, which came down around 7:30 p.m., said 63 precincts that had problems with ballots, such as lack of ballots or ballots meant for another ward or city, had to remain open until 9 p.m. However, St. Louis Elections Director Eric Fey told News 4 a majority of the precincts were already closed because the ruling came after the regularly scheduled poll closing time. According to Fey, only three or four polling places were open until 9 p.m.

“At this point all we can do is apologize to the voters affected and going forward. I want to correct this problem. Get to the bottom of it and tomorrow I’ll start a thorough audit of the procedures that led to this and put those proper controls in place,” Fey said.

Only those affected by the ballot problems were allowed to vote at the polling places that had extended hours.

A circuit court judge originally ruled all polling places in the county must close at the regular time, 7 p.m.

In a press release Tuesday morning, officials said 24 precincts were impacted by a ballot shortage, but the number grew throughout the day.

"It is terrible. We pay these people money to do a job and they can't get it done," said voter Frank Pellegrini. "They told me I had two options: drive to Maplewood or to come back here by seven and stand in line hoping they will have ballots by then."

Earlier in the day Fey told News 4 there are two types of ballots, which had their numbers reversed, leading to the issues at the polls. He said there are two different ballots because polling places can serve two different school districts which can have different issues to be voted on.

"It's a database error for sure," said Fey. "It is something we should have caught and it was a terrible mistake. If you have a polling place with, let’s say two ballot styles, say ballot style "A," they were supposed to get 25 and ballot style "B" 500 ballots. Those numbers were flipped."

Fey said a mistake like this makes the election board look bad and it makes the voters doubt in the election process.

Many voters told News 4 their polling place was either out of ballots or the ballots at the polling place were meant for another town.

The office of Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander said they will conduct a review of the election.

Voters who were affected had the option to return to their polling place later in the day or cast their ballot at the Board of Elections office in Maplewood.

“The Board of Elections sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience this has cause,” read a portion of a statement from the board. 

However, some people said it was impossible for them to make it back to polls before they close.

You can read the judge’s order here.

The Board of Elections released the below list of 24 affected precincts Tuesday morning: 

  • Fenton City Hall
  • Wyland Elementary
  • Green Trails Elementary
  • True Redemption
  • Timbers Sta. 2
  • Pattonville High
  • Sunset Hills Con Center
  • Sunset Hills Con Center
  • West Springs Church
  • Reed Elementary
  • Our Lady Lourdes
  • Valley Park Senior Citizen 
  • Hazelwood High West School
  • Have bible Will Travel Church
  • Truman Middle School
  • St. John Boscoe
  • Horton Watkins High School
  • Glendale Lutheran Church
  • Bermuda Elementary School
  • University City  forest manor
  • McKnight Crossings
  • John Knox Presbyterian Church
  • The Heights
  • Bridgeton Trails Branch Library

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