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News Tribune editorial

February 8th, 2011 in News

Winter weather has bolstered interest in forecasts from Weather Channel meteorologists to a Punxsutawney groundhog.

Because of the snowfall and cold temperatures, however, Cole County's chief election authority is reluctant to predict voter turnout for Tuesday's primary.

"It's anybody's guess," said Cole County Clerk Marvin Register. "A normal February election would bring out 10 to 12 percent of registered voters, but I'm afraid turnout will not even be that strong."

Register typically bases his predictions on the number of absentee ballots, which have numbered about 400 over the past six weeks - not an encouraging total.

Realistic expectations suggest a dismal turnout.

Nevertheless, we persevere in encouraging registered voters to become informed and to vote Tuesday.

The ballot is sparse and confined to Jefferson City, where voters will decide one issue and make choices in two races.

The issue, Proposition A, would increase the lodging tax from 3 cents to 7 cents for an overnight stay at venues within the city. The additional money would be placed in a lockbox by the Convention and Visitors Bureau for construction of a proposed conference center.

Voters also will make selections in races for mayor and city prosecutor, where three candidates have filed in each.

The candidates for mayor are: Eric Streumph, George Hartsfield and Leonard Steinman. The candidates for city prosecutor are: Renee Godbee, Brian Stumpe and David Barrett. The votes in these races could be decisive. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday, the top two vote-getters will advance to the April general election. If any single candidate receives more than 50 percent, however, the candidate is elected and no general election is necessary for that race.

The bottom line is the city's leader for the next four years could be determined Tuesday by a mere fraction of voters. Letters to the editor, posts on our website and participation at public hearings all indicate strong, widespread interest in the future of our city.

Let's translate that interest into action. Vote Tuesday.

Results will be posted on once they're available after the polls close at 7 p.m.


Polling locations (Only Jefferson City wards are voting)