By: Tara Blue
2024 is an election year with several opportunities to make your values heard on a local, state, and federal level. Here is your “good-to-know” information about upcoming elections:
On Tuesday, Feb. 6th, the City of Ashland will hold the first February Municipal Bond Election in Boone County since 1998. The ballot question reads:
“Shall the City of Ashland, Missouri, issue its combined waterworks and sewerage system revenue bonds in the amount of $40,000,000 for the purpose of purchasing, constructing, extending and improving the combined waterworks and sewerage system of the City and acquiring any land and easements necessary therefor, with the principal of and interest on said revenue bonds to be payable solely from the revenues derived by the City from the operation of its combined waterworks and sewerage system, including all future extensions and improvements thereto?”
The City of Ashland will host two public workshops on Wed. Jan. 17th at 6:00 pm and Sun. Jan. 28th at 2:00 pm at city hall to provide information and answer questions. On Tues. Feb. 6th, eligible Ashland voters will mark a paper ballot and drop it into a metal ballot box. All paper ballots will be counted by hand. The Ashland Optimist Club at 511 Optimist Drive will open to voting at 6:00 am and will close at 7:00 pm. To save money, the Ashland Optimist Club will be the only polling location and all Ashland precincts will vote there.
Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon says that because it’s a single-issue ballot in a small district, her office can limit the costs borne by the city by printing ballots in house and by doing a hand count of the ballots, which eliminates the need for tabulator machines. Lennon says the biggest single expense is paying the election judges for their service and expects the February election to come in under $2000.
The bond issue needs a simple majority to pass. Two weeks of no-excuse absentee voting runs from Jan. 23rd-Feb. 5th. All qualified Ashland voters may absentee vote at the clerk’s office between those dates. The clerk’s office will also be open Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024 between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. The last day to register to vote is Jan. 10th, 2024. For voters that will be out of town on election day, work as a first responder, or have an illness or disability, absentee voting is available now at the clerk’s office or by mail. Applications for mailed absentee ballots are available at vote.boonemo.org and must be received by the clerk’s office by 5:00 pm January 24, 2024.
In March, voters can participate in the presidential candidate selection process which will look different than past election years. The Libertarians, Republicans, and Democrats will use their own unique process of selecting their respective presidential candidate and it will not be run by the Boone County Clerk’s office.
Last year, Gov. Mike Parson signed House Bill No. 1878 which eliminated the state-run presidential primary in Missouri and switched Missouri back to a caucus and party-run primary system. Lennon says the move to caucuses was supported by County Clerks due to the March and April elections being three weeks apart and by the Secretary of State’s Office to save money. This will be the first time in 20 years that the presidential preference process is conducted by caucus in Missouri.
Missouri Republicans will hold a caucus rather than a primary. A caucus is a closed meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction usually to select delegates to represent the party’s selected presidential nominee or to decide on policy (Merriam-Webster). Lennon says caucuses are different than what people are used to, as “you meet as a group and you kind of hash things out. It’s a lot more visual so you’re physically voting with your feet by walking to the place that represents whatever the candidate is.” (KOMU)
Boone County Republicans will caucus on March 2, 2024 at the Family Worship Center at 4925 E. Bonne Femme Church Rd. in Columbia. Voters should arrive between 9:00-10:00 am, as the doors will close and the caucus will be called to order and begin promptly at 10:00 am. Any registered Boone County voter with a voter registration affiliation of Republican or Unaffiliated can participate.
According to the Missouri Republican State Committee Planning Memo, campaigns either supply volunteers or paid staffers to help herd supporters through the process. These “precinct captains” can make a pitch for their respective presidential campaign, and voters will then commit to the candidate they support, indicated by a show of hands or a gathering in groups around a preferred candidate.
The caucus will follow a “winner take all” procedure, meaning that if over half of the voters at the caucus (50% plus one) vote for a single candidate, all delegates and alternates selected will be bound to that candidate. Another scenario would be the plurality scenario, which means that if no candidate receives over 50% of voters, the slate will be elected proportionally. For more info., please contact Anthony Lupo with the Boone County Republican Central Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boone County Democrats’ selection process includes mail-in voting and in-person voting. Mail-in ballots can be requested from the party between February 12, 2024 and March 12, 2024 and must be received by 10:00 am on March 23, 2024. On March 23, 2024, from 8am to 12pm, the party will host in-person voting at a location TBD. Any registered Boone County voter with a voter registration affiliation of Democratic or Unaffiliated can participate. For more info., please contact Lyra Noce with the Boone County Democratic Central Committee at email@example.com.
Voters that are interested in participating in the Missouri Libertarian Party selection process can participate in their State Convention on February 24, 2024. More info. is available on their website at https://lpmo.org/.
Local municipal elections will be held on April 2nd. This election includes Municipalities, Boards of Education, Alderman, Bonds, & City Council.
The Journal will publish detailed information as we approach these future election dates.