CHARLESTON - Martin Lucas will stick with the paid position he ran for - second district county commissioner for Mississippi County - instead of accepting a write-in victory for county surveyor, an unpaid position he previously held.
County officials discussed election results during their regular meeting Thursday. Lucas, who said there are still county residents who don't know he gave up the surveyor position 10 years ago to be county commissioner, got 48 votes for county surveyor with the runner-up only bringing in five among the stack of write-in votes for the position.
Only the write-in candidate with the most votes may take the office, however. "There will just be a vacancy," County Clerk Junior DeLay said of the surveyor position.
Write-in votes combined with overvotes, which is where two candidates have marks in the same race, slowed the counting process for Mississippi County considerably this election, according to DeLay. "It took forever," he said.
Presidential candidate Ralph Nader received only four write-in votes in the county, according to DeLay.
DeLay said his office was kept busy during election day with the first phone call coming in at 6:45 a.m. and calls continuing until about 7:05 p.m. Even with a declining population, the total number of voters was fairly high at 5,355 as compared with 4,893 in 1984; 5,302 in 1988; 5,788 in 1992; 5,330 in 1996; and 5,302 in 2000.
The number of registered voters in the county is inflated, however, resulting in a turnout percentage of only 57.39 percent, which DeLay said is good but not recording breaking. He explained many registered voters have moved out of the county and registered again at their new residences but never notified the county clerk's office.
"We have all kinds on the books like that," DeLay said.
A new statewide voter registration management system will be implemented next year. "The MAXIMUS system is all going to be real time," DeLay said. "You will know immediately if that voter is registered in another location."
Presently election officials are notified by the secretary of state who sends a list to county clerks every quarter.
"It's up to us to pull out the duplicates and communicate with the other counties to determine where they were active last," DeLay said. The other county or counties then are able to remove the name from their lists.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said voters ages 18-30 did not turn out in the numbers some had predicted for this election. "I'd like to see our percentage," he said.
In other Mississippi County business:
* Commissioners approved a request from County Assessor W.R. "Bill" Thompson to attend the annual Missouri Association of Counties conference and participate as a voting delegate.
The trip will be funded from Thompson's existing budget as requested.
* The air conditioning unit for the courthouse computer room has been installed and appears to be working fine, DeLay reported.
* The Bootheel Solid Waste Management District picked up the 1,500 passenger tires collected in the recent tire roundup.
Lucas said the county still has another 700 tires collected toward the next roundup. "We'll have to apply next year," he said.
* H & R Alarms is "going to enhance our security system on the 17th," DeLay advised.
* DeLay reminded commissioners they still have two county board appointments to make with one vacancy each on the Industrial Development Authority Board and on the Senate Bill 40 Board.