Hermann Advertiser Courier

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On Point: Making sense of ‘a different election’

Posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at 1:21 pm

Buck Collier is the editor of the Hermann Advertiser-Courier.

Gasconade County Clerk Lesa Lietzow saw something in the Aug. 7 Primary Election balloting that she hasn’t seen in a long time — if ever in her tenure as the county’s chief elections official.
There were 159 non-partisan ballots requested at the county’s 16 polling places. Those are ballots with only ballot issues, not anyone running for any office. In this case, only one issue: Proposition A.
For a county such as Gasconade, having that many non-partisan ballots taken is truly an anomoly. “Those ballots are never taken,” Lietzow said in discussing the election results.
“It was a very different election,” she said.
Indeed it was.
Also hard to explain is how Prop A, which was referendum on a bill passed by a heavily GOP-controlled Missouri General Assembly and signed into law by Republican then-Gov. Eric Greitens, did so poorly in such a GOP-leaning county as Gasconade. That’s quite unusual considering the GOP had made a so-called Right-To-Work law a priority in the last several years. Also surprising were how many Republican candidates were distancing themselves from Prop A as fast — and as far — as they could before the Aug. 7 primary vote. Talk about abandoning your principles. Or was that merely an exercise in political expediency?
Here’s something else: In addition to the 159 non-partisan ballots, there were a good many Republican Party ballots that did not reflect a vote in the Presiding Commissioner’s between incumbent Larry Miskel and challenger David Slater.
According to the County Clerk’s Office, there were 2,964 ballots cast in the GOP primary, but only 2,714 contained a vote for either Miskel or Slater. That means that among the Republicans casting a ballot, 250 don’t care who holds the highest office in county government.
That’s sad. Sad that 159 voters didn’t want to vote for anyone running for any office and that within the local GOP 250 don’t care who is at the top of county government.
Remember this as the November General Election takes shape: We get the kind of government we deserve. If we don’t get involved in deciding what kind of government we have, then we don’t deserve having a really good government.