Last month the St. Louis Board of Elections sent both Anne and I a letter. In these letters, were applications for absentee voting ballots. There were three applications, one for each of the three planned elections this year. Accompanying these applications was a letter that explained that in Missouri, a voter needs an excused absence, to be allowed to vote absentee. There are about half-a-dozen acceptable excuses. Anne routinely uses one of them when she works the polls as an Election Official. In the past, I’ve used another, when I was out-of-town on business travel. For all of these excuses, the voter must attest to the validity of their excuse and for most of these excuses, a notary must witness the voter’s signature. The one exception to this last rule is the excuse, “confined due to illness.” It was under the guise of this excuse that the election board sent Anne and I and all other county voters, sixty-years or older our letters. The letter went on to suggest that we share this idea with any friends or relatives that we thought would also benefit from this idea.
I expected some Republican pushback on the county’s action, what with their current animosity towards mail-in balloting, plus St. Louis county’s traditional Democratic political leanings. With Republican control of the state government it could be possible that they might take actions to scuttle this initiative, but Josh Hawley (R), our junior senator and a rising star in his party has signaled his acceptance of this move. So far that is all that I’ve heard on the subject out of the state capitol. The legislators probably have enough on their plates anyway.
This week, we both received our first set of absentee ballots. It is for the June election that had originally been scheduled in April. This is a municipal election and as such is not one of the Big ones. Still, it makes for a good trial run. About the only contested race is for our city mayor. The others that are for councilman or the school board are all uncontested. There are two propositions on the ballot. First, a school bond issue that asks to reissue old debit with today’s lower rates, meaning no new taxes and more money for the schools. I’ll let you guess how I am going to vote on that one. The other one involves the sewer district, but is now moot. If our ballots hadn’t been printed so early, it would’ve been removed.
So, what about the mayor? There is the incumbent, who I have met twice and his sole challenger, who I have not heard hide-nor-hair from. I suspect that this election’s big issue is the huge apartment building that is being built nearby. It is being constructed on the old grounds of a former public school and church. It includes a parking garage and about 187 units. There is some controversy about the impact on traffic that all of these new people will have in the neighborhood. This project is already well underway, such that the electorate’s only say at this point would be to throw the rascal out who approved it.
I am ambivalent on this issue. While the 187 new units in Altair at the Heights would make things more crowded, these new residents redress some of the people who were lost when the also recent nearby commercial development resulted in the condemning of other people’s homes. However, Altair’s rents that range up to $5,000+ hardly replace the kind of low-income housing that was lost. I find it hilarious that the relators are billing them as Clayton apartments.