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St. Louis County aims to avoid election problems of April

St. Louis County Board of Elections director Eric Fey was suspended without pay on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County elections officials say they are ready for Tuesday’s primary.

During the April municipal elections, many voters were faced with long lines when several county polling places ran out of paper ballots. County Democratic Election Director Eric Fey says that won’t happen this time.

"The main thing is that we are back to our normal compliment of voting equipment so at every polling place there will be touch screen voting machines in addition to the paper ballots. If we would have had the touch screen machines in April, we wouldn’t really have had the problems we faced,” Fey told St. Louis Public Radio.

Fey says the April problems were caused by a clerical error resulting in too few paper ballots being made available at the polls, along with the lack of touch screen machines because the election occurred too close to the March presidential primary.

He says he learned a valuable lesson in April.

“It’s those small things that can come back to bite you," Fey admits. "And it was a small, relatively small clerical error that came back to bite us in April.”

Fey and another county elections coordinator were suspended without pay by the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners as a result of the problems.

On Tuesday, voters will select party nominees in a variety of races, along with some municipal issues and contests.There is a very competitive four-way race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination at the top of the ballot.

While Fey says they have fully prepared for Tuesday, he reminds everyone to be patient.

“Voters cannot expect every polling place to run like a fast food restaurant. It’s just not realistic.”

Fey says there will be 3500 poll workers at 423 polling places throughout St. Louis County.