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City GOP elections chief headed to Kosovo -- temporarily

By Central Intellegence Agency (Kosovo) via Wikimedia Commons

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

ST. LOUIS – The man credited with helping improve elections in St. Louis city will be in Kosovo later this month to help the small Balkan nation run its first general election since independence.

Scott Leiendecker, the Republican elections director for the city of St. Louis, is one of about 40 volunteers working with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. They will be providing staff for about a dozen polling places in Kosovo which the country's electoral commission cannot fill on its own.

This is the first time Leiendecker has ever worked internationally, so he expects the trip to be "a whole new experience.

"I don't know what to expect, but I am extremely excited to be able to help a country that has had turmoil over its lifespan, basically," he said. "There are going to be people that I possibly run into that have never voted before and are excited to do so, so this is going to be something that for me personally is going to be very rewarded and exciting."

The Dec. 12 parliamentary vote is the first general election for Kosovars since they declared independence in 2008. It was triggered last month when members of Parliament approved a no confidence motion against the government of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.