Low turnout today, few problems reported in polls across the area
Updated at 9:17 p.m.:
With more than 65 percent of the precincts reported in St. Louis, the proposition to retain the city earnings tax remained way ahead, 88 to 12 percent.
Across the state, in Kansas City, the result was about the same, with the earnings tax cruising to an easy victory.
Our earlier story:
Election officials report few problems during today's balloting in local elections around the region. Polls opened at 6 a.m. and will close tonight at 7 p.m.
The marquee contests are: the earnings tax in the city; the assessor's race in St. Louis County; and the mayoral race in St. Charles.
A polling place did open late at the Florissant Valley Community College. St. Louis County Democratic elections director Joe Donahue blamed college security personnel, who failed to show up on time to unlock the doors. Voting at that site began about a half-hour late, he said, but only a few people were in line at the time.
Otherwise, Donahue reported that polling places were "quiet, quiet, quiet" -- with few problems and, unfortunately, few voters. He said he was concerned that the final turnout in the county could be below his initial prediction that 20 percent of county voters would show up.
As we reported earlier:
Election officials are making the final preparations -- and taking in the final absentee ballots -- for Tuesday's local elections.
Polls open at 6 a.m. Tuesday and will close at 7 p.m. But voters who meet the state's criteria for casting an absentee ballot can still do so until 5 p.m. today.
So far, city voters have cast 1,778 absentee ballots, compared to about 8,000 in the county. Both tallies are typical for April elections, election officials say.
In St. Louis County, the only countywide issue on the ballot is the election of a county assessor. The post had been an appointed one since 1960, but voters last year approved measures statewide and in the county to make the job an elected position. Democrat Jake Zimmerman is competing against Republican L.K. "Chip" Wood.
Close to two dozen mayoral elections also are spicing up some county ballots.
In the city of St. Louis, the only citywide issue on the ballot concerns the city's 1 percent earnings tax. As a result of a statewide measure approved last fall, city voters must decide every five years whether to retain or drop the tax. If dropped, it cannot be reinstated because of the statewide law approved last year that bars any other community from enacting one. A similar election is being held Tuesday in Kansas City, the only other city in the state with an earnings tax.
In St. Charles County, voters in O'Fallon wil decide the fate of a proposed public smoking ban, while those in the city of St. Charles will elect a new mayor. Incumbent Patti York is competing against state Rep. Sally Faith in the nonpartisan election.
Read the Beacon's coverage of Proposition E on the earnings tax:
Read about the assessor's race:Wood claims Zimmerman out to destroy his reputation
Read about other local issues and campaigns:
Contact Beacon political reporter Jo Mannies.