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An apparent glitch in at least one of Christian County’s polling places has some voters crying foul: one Libertarian Party candidate says his polling place wasn’t even offering the Libertarian or Constitution Party ballots. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore reports.
Here’s how the primary election works in Missouri...voters walk in and choose one of five ballots: a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Constitution Party ballot, or an “Issues Only” Ballot.Bradley Stubbs is the only Libertarian running for State Representative in Missouri’s 142nd district—that’s the area that represents Christian County and parts of Taney County. But when he went to vote Tuesday morning at South Elementary School in Ozark, the Libertarian ballot wasn’t even presented to him as an option.“As I walked in to go cast my vote, they were all asking people, ‘Are you a Democrat or Republican?’ There [were] no ballots offered for Libertarian. You had to ask for it. Not only were they not laying out, [but] they were under the table in boxes under the table on the floor. They had to dig for them. And to me, I’m like, ‘Now, what part of this is fair, and what part is not fair?’ And they said, ‘Well, we don’t have room for those,’” Stubbs said.
He said he was shocked. He did eventually get to cast his ballot, once they found the Libertarian ballots.
He went to the Christian County Clerk’s office, where he was told poll workers were supposed to be asking “Which party ballot would you like?” and not simply “Democrat or Republican?”
“I can understand his frustration very much, and we are going to correct that in the future,” says Christian County Clerk Kay Brown.
She says she was out at a polling site when Stubbs came into her office. But when she heard about the complaint, she went directly to his polling place.
Brown: “And I asked them, you know, ‘Why was this like that?’ And they said, ‘Well, we were just concerned because…they were a smaller number and we didn’t want them to get confused with other ballots. And often times, you know, when we have a lot of ballot styles, sometimes there’s just not a lot of room on the table. But they did have them posted. The sample ballots were posted for everyone of all the ballot styles that were available at the polls.”Moore: “So, do you think from now on you will have all of them on the tables?”Brown: “Yes. Yes, we will. We certainly will. We’ll just have to get more tables.”
The glitch sheds light on how important it is to have poll workers who are properly trained.
Abe Rakov with the Secretary of State’s Office said he had not yet heard about the complaint from Christian County. But he did say Missouri requires poll workers to go through training before sitting in on an election.
"Poll worker training is conducted at a local level. And what our office does is provide a training manual that local election authorities can use at their discretion to train their poll workers. And at that point, it’s up to the local election authorities to decide what they want to do,” Rakov said.
Christian County Clerk Kay Brown says her poll workers go through extensive training locally.
Stubbs is the only Libertarian on the ticket in his race. There’s also a Republican running in that primary, but no Democrat. That means Stubbs will advance automatically to what will be a two-man race in November.Stubbs says even though he is uncontested in this primary, it’s important to know how many votes he gets, and where those votes came from as he campaigns for the general election in November.
He says he plans to contact the Missouri Ethics Commission as well as the Secretary of State’s Office about not being offered a Libertarian ballot.
Stubbs said he decided to run for State Representative because he wants the jobs in his district to keep up with the population growth.
The Libertarian Party platform focuses on giving individuals more rights and lessening the role of government in all aspects of society. Stubbs works in Christian County as a property manager and as a magician.
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.