Local election day arrives for Missouri voters

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BOONE COUNTY - Voters from all over Missouri hit the polls Tuesday to vote in local elections.

There were multiple issues and races on this election's ballot for residents of many cities in Boone County

The races garnering the most attention this election season take place in Columbia.

In the race for Third Ward City Councilman, Tom Leuther and Karl Skala faced off.

In the Fourth Ward, Daryl Dudley and Ian Thomas were pitted against each other. Thomas was the only candidate actively campaigning in the Fourth Ward after Dudley suspended his campaign last month.

In the race for Columbia Mayor, Brian Treece and Skip Walther were fighting for votes against each other.

There were also some notable school board races in Boone County.

Columbia, Southern Boone County, Hallsville, New Franklin, North Callaway and Fayette school districts all had board seats up for grabs.

Several bond and tax issues were also on the ballot, including a tax levy increase to $0.65 per every $100 for residents of the Columbia School District. The ballot said the money would go toward "general school operating purposes, including maintaining current programs, providing support for an increasing student enrollment and assisting in recruiting high-quality faculty."

Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren said the diversity in the election's ballot was somewhat unique.

"I think that's the first time that I remember, and I've been doing it since 1978, that they've put both a tax levy and a  bond issue on at the same time for the Columbia School District," Noren said.

Noren said the issues regarding the schools can actually be cause for more attention than races for elected positions.

"The press focuses on the mayor's race a lot, but generally I think we've always seen more of an interest in school races and school issues," Noren said. "If you put the school issue on the ballot all by itself or the mayor's race on the ballot all by itself I think the school issues would get the better turnout."

As for turnout as a whole, Noren said she expects this election to benefit from other factors happening this year.

"In a Presidential Election year you just get a bigger turnout at almost every election. People seem to have election fever, so hopefully we'll get 25,000," Noren said.

Noren said one of the big problems as far as April voter turnout goes is the sizable young population in the area.

"April is not always a great turnout," Noren said. "One of the problems is that younger people aged 18 to 24 tend not to vote in these local elections. We have another whole group of people, about half of our population, who believes they vote in every election because they vote for President every four years. So that dampens our turnout a little bit."

Noren said the election would have fewer active polling places than the Presidential Primary a few weeks ago. 

"We do have fewer polling places," Noren said. "We had 52,000 people vote three weeks ago, we'll probably have half that on April 5. So we have about 12 fewer polling places than we had then, so it's important for people to always check their polling place notice."

A complete list of polling places can be found at the County Clerk's website.

You can also find your specific polling place through the website.

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