Ballot blunder could cost taxpayers thousands

ST. LOUIS - There's a chance we could have to hold an entire election all over again because of a ballot blunder, and it could cost taxpayers, thousands of dollars.

It's all because of a tiny sliver of St. Louis County. There are only ten voters there, and they were left off the ballot.

The bond issue is to raise money for firefighting equipment thermal image cameras firefighters use to find people in places that are dark and smoky, but if the election turns out too close, then this whole effort could be in jeopardy.

"I would vote for it, yeah I would," said Dorl Thornton. But although he should be able to, Thornton can't vote for it. It's because he lives in St. Louis County.

The Pacific Fire District covers nearly 80 square miles in parts of Franklin, Jefferson and St. Louis counties. The measure should, but won't appear on the St. Louis County ballot.

"It's upsetting, yeah because the ball was dropped, said Pacific Fire Chief Rick Friedmann.

Who dropped the ball is not clear. The fire district is responsible for delivering election documents to county election officials. Friedmann says their attorney did that. The county says it never got them, and now it's too late.

Franklin and Jefferson counties will move forward with the April 5 bond issue without St. Louis County. It's only ten voters, but if the election is close and comes within those 10 votes, election officials say there would have to be a do-over in all three counties, a $4,000 or more price tag Pacific Fire would have to pay again.

"The board will have to decide if they want to do a second election or if we won't do another election and we'll find some other avenues to replace this equipment," said the chief.

History seems to be on the fire district's side, the most recent tax and bond issues here passed overwhelmingly.


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