Voters will head to the polls Tuesday to elect new mayors, city and village leaders, school board members and decide a host of referendums ranging from tax increases to adopting home rule status.
One of the most contentious issues has been whether the city of O’Fallon should sell or lease its water department. There are two ballot propositions essentially asking the same question; both are advisory referendums, meaning city leaders are not bound by the outcomes.
Here are answers to a variety of questions regarding the consolidated municipal and school election:
When can I vote?
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Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday in all local precincts. Check your voter registration card for your precinct location, or call your county clerk’s office to find out where you must go to vote.
Can I still vote early?
Early voting ended this past weekend for most areas, with votes taken until 5 p.m. Monday in the county clerks’ offices.
Madison County has had 3,498 early voters out of 174,500 registered voters, an increase of about 1,000 early voters since the last April election two years ago. County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza said they issued 723 absentee ballots, of which 395 have been returned — an unusually low number, she said.
In St. Clair County, 1,826 people voted early out of 157,742 registered voters, according to county clerk Tom Holbrook. St. Clair County issued 5,115 absentee ballots, of which 3,277 have been received. Holbrook also said the number of outstanding absentee ballots is “a little high.” Usually they get about 75 percent back, he said.
Absentee ballots must be postmarked Monday and received within 14 days to be counted.
What’s on the ballot?
You can get a sample ballot or voter’s guide for the whole county at www.madisonvotes.com or www.countyclerk.co.st-clair.il.us/elections. You can also follow the links on those sites to enter your address and it will display the ballot for the races in which you will be eligible to vote.
What are the big issues in this election?
In Madison County, there are property tax referendums for Triad and Granite City school districts and a referendum on consolidating three school districts in the Wood River-East Alton region. In St. Clair County, Shiloh and New Baden are asking voters to decide whether to become home rule municipalities. There also are tax proposals in Breese and Columbia, while O’Fallon features the water referendums.
There are school board and City Council seats up for election in most municipalities, as well as city clerks, treasurers and county officials. Fairview Heights, Collinsville, East St. Louis, Cahokia and Alorton are voting for mayors or village presidents.
How are the votes counted?
In St. Clair County, the ballots are counted by individual precincts as they come to the courthouse in Belleville, according to clerk Thomas Holbrook. He said the time it takes for each precinct to be counted varies based on how long it takes the election judges to pack up and drive to the courthouse. East St. Louis has its own election commission, which manages the voting precincts in East St. Louis and reports on them separately.
In Madison County, Ming-Mendoza said she has set up collection centers stationed throughout the county so the election judges go to those locations rather than driving all the way to the county administration building in Edwardsville. They are counted at the collection centers and totals updated electronically for faster results, then the ballots are taken from the collection centers to Edwardsville once they are counted.
The counts released on Tuesday night are considered unofficial until they are certified by the state on April 23. That’s when all of the provisional ballots (those from military members, for example, stationed overseas) are due.
How can I find out who’s winning?
Election results will be posted on bnd.com throughout the evening as we get them. You also can get numbers on the county clerks’ websites listed above. For Washington, Clinton, Monroe and Randolph counties, go to www.platinumelectionresults.com; for Bond County, go to www.accessliberty.com.