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Deadline is 5 p.m. today to register for upcoming Aug. 3 primary election
Deadline is 5 p.m. today to register for upcoming Aug. 3 primary election

Today is the last day County Clerk Diana Linnenbringer can register voters for the Aug. 3 primary election.
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (July 7, 2010) — Pulaski County residents who plan to vote in next month’s primary election have until 5 p.m. today to register, or they won’t be allowed to cast ballots for any state, county, or local race on Aug. 3.

As required by state statute, County Clerk Diana Linnenbringer will keep the clerk’s office in the courthouse open until 5 p.m. rather than the standard closing time of 4:30 p.m.

Contested local races this year for the Republican Party include Gene Newkirk of St. Robert and Dennis Thornsberry of Crocker, who are running for their party’s nomination for the Pulaski County Presiding Commissioner seat currently held by Waynesville Democrat Don McCulloch; Pulaski County Clerk candidates Becky Reid of Laquey, Brent Bassett of Waynesville and Whitney Medlen of Crocker who are running for the seat held by Linnebringer, who is retiring; Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Hooper of Waynesville, who is being challenged by Jeff Thomas of Dixon and Kevin Hillman of Waynesville; and County Treasurer candidates Sue Rapone of Waynesville, Debbie Harris of Richland and Larry Southard of Laquey, who are running for a position held by Morris Roam of Crocker, a Democrat who was appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon to fill a vacancy created when former County Treasurer Barbara Thomas, a Dixon Republican, resigned.

On the Democratic Party side, the only contested race is McCulloch, who was appointed by the governor to fill a vacancy when former Presiding Commissioner Bill Ransdall, also a Waynesville Democrat, resigned to accept an governor’s appointment to the Missouri State Tax Commission to which the Senate later did not confirm him. McCulloch is being challenged by Ray Campbell, who lives outside St. Robert.

The Libertarian and Constitution parties also have candidates running for state and federal office, but none are running locally.

Regardless of party affiliation, voters will also be able to decide whether to approve a proposal from the state legislators, targeted at President Barack Obama’s mandatory federal health insurance program, which would “deny the government authority to penalize citizens for refusing to purchase private health insurance” and take several related actions.

In addition, all voters in Swedeborg regardless of political party will have another opportunity to approve a tax increase that school board members say is needed to keep their school district from closing. The proposal would raise the school district’s property tax from the current state-required mandatory minimum of $2.75 per $100 of assessed valuation up to $3.43, which qualifies the district for additional state aid that isn’t available to districts unless they reach the $3.43 threshhold.

Linnenbringer said the county had 22,414 registered voters as of the April school and city elections, and a few hundred additional voters have registered so far since the April election.

In most years, few if any voters take advantage of the additional half hour of registration time, Linnenbringer said.

“It could be as little as zero or as many as two or three would probably be the max,” Linnenbringer said. “We really haven’t had that many come in here to register to vote, as much as in the past, but of course the 2008 election may have taken care of a lot of that for those who had not registered.”

About 80 local absentee ballots have been requested so far and more than 200 military absentee ballots, of which a total of about 40 have been returned.

While today is the last day for most people to register to vote in the primary election, military voters have an additional option. While it’s not commonly used in off-year elections, active duty military personnel can register up until the day of the election though they will only get a federal ballot for the U.S. Senate seat for which the main candidates are Republican Roy Blunt, a Springfield-area congressman, and Democrat Robin Carnahan, currently the Missouri State Treasurer, and the U.S. House of Representatives seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton. The two major Republican candidates challenging Skelton are Vicky Hartzler, a former state representative, and current State Sen. Bill Stouffer. Both are from the northern Missouri portion of Skelton’s district.

This August’s primary election will be Linnenbringer’s second-to-last election before she retires and moves back to her hometown in suburban St. Louis. The November general election will be her last.

“I was recently watching something on TV about the 2012 election and thinking, ‘I’m going to just enjoy sitting back and watching the election returns come in,’” Linnenbringer said.

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