The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 1, 2013

Low turnouts predicted for area's city and school elections

By Susan Redden

— Limited races and bad weather could combine for an especially dismal voter turnout for city and school elections today.

There are no elections for Joplin today. City Council elections are conducted only in even-numbered years, and only incumbent members filed for the Joplin School Board.

The same is true for the Webb City and Carthage school boards, and most other entities in Jasper and Newton counties have just a few issues on the ballot.

Though she did not want to offer a specific prediction Monday, Bonnie Earl, Jasper County clerk, said she fears the county voter turnout “may be the lowest ever.”

“I think people will go to the polls for some things, like the school bond issue in Webb City,” she said. Webb City voters are being asked to approve a $9 million bond issue for a classroom and safe room expansion project.

“With the limited number of questions and races, I think the turnout will be low,” Earl said.

Among the other issues in the county, voters will decide a street bond measure in Carterville, council and school board races in Jasper and Sarcoxie, and council races in a number of other communities.

In Newton County, races for the Neosho School Board, a bond issue in the Diamond School District and a proposed school levy increase in the East Newton district will be the primary attractions for voters, according to Kay Baum, county clerk.

Baum is predicting voter turnout at less than 15 percent.

“It could be as low as 10 percent, especially if we get bad weather,” she said.

Temperatures in the 40s and rain or possible snow are being forecast for the region by the National Weather Service.

A number of other contests and issues are on ballots in the region, including a legislative race in Lawrence County, where voters will fill the 157th District House seat in a special election called by Gov. Jay Nixon. The winner will fill a seat vacated after Nixon named former Rep. Don Ruzicka to the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole. The candidates are Mike Moon, of rural Ash Grove, on the Republican ticket and Charles Dake, of Miller, the Democrat.

Competitive races for school board and City Commission seats should boost turnout among voters in Crawford County, Kan., according to Don Pyle, county clerk.

He said turnout could be as high as 25 percent. “We’ve got some good races in Frontenac, Girard and Pittsburg,” he said.

Voting hours

POLLS WILL BE OPEN from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in counties in Missouri, and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Kansas and Oklahoma.