Some communities in Cole County won't have to hold municipal elections April 2 for openings on their respective boards or city councils.
Current state law says for communities with a population of 2,000 or fewer, if voters in those communities approve, they can forgo non-partisan elections when the number of people who have filed is equal to the number of positions up for election. If that is approved, then that is in effect for six years. The community then has to go back to voters to see if they want to continue the practice.
Taos and Lohman approved such a measure in 2015, so they will vote on it again in 2021. St. Thomas approved it in 2017, so they will vote again in 2023.
There will be no election in Lohman where current aldermen Patty Duncan and Shawn Higgins were the only candidates to file. They will serve two-year terms.
Taos also will not have an election as the only candidates to file were incumbents Wayne Thoene for Ward 1 and Travis Schaefer for Ward 2. Both will serve two-year terms.
St. Thomas will have an election because three people filed for two two-year alderman positions. They are: Bob Schellman, Darrel Buechter and Debbie Buschjost.
Centertown, Wardsville, St. Martins and Russellville have never taken a vote on the option of foregoing elections, so they must hold elections.
In St. Martins, voters will decide on the mayor's position as well as three aldermen.
For mayor, incumbent Eugene Strobel filed for re-election to the two-year term. For South Ward Alderman, incumbent Keith Kliethermes filed for the two-year term. There are two North Ward Alderman seats up for election; the incumbents filed for re-election to those spots. One is for a one-year term, which Darrell Walker is seeking. He was appointed to the seat and now must run to be elected for the remainder of the term. The other seat is a two-year term; incumbent Scott Amos is seeking that post.
In Centertown, there are three board of trustees positions up for election, each with a two-year term. As of Tuesday night, community officials did not return calls requesting information as to whether anyone had filed for the positions.
In Wardsville, Bill Gratz and Rick Taube, who currently serve on the Board of Trustees, filed for re-election. The offices have two-year terms.
In Russellville, incumbent Jarad Roark filed for re-election to his West Ward City Council seat. For the East Ward position, three candidates filed for the two-year term — Sharon Williams, Russell Wilson and Ben Homeyer.
Write-in candidates have until the second Friday before the election, March 22, to file with the Cole County clerk at the Courthouse Annex on East High Street in Jefferson City if they want to run for office in Centertown, Wardsville, Russellville, St. Thomas and St. Martins. They have to live within the city limits of the community and have their legal ID when they come into the clerk's office to file paperwork.
Governmental bodies such as school districts or fire protection districts have until Jan. 22 to decide whether to put an issue on the April ballot. None of the communities placed an issue before voters in April.