Voters stress importance of primaries as registration deadline nears

The American flag flies over the Callaway County courthouse Tuesday afternoon. Fulton voters said they consider the upcoming primary election just as important as the general election. (Garrett Bergquist/KRCG 13)

Voters on Tuesday said not casting a ballot in any election effectively forfeits a person's voice in how their views are represented.

According to the Missouri secretary of state's office, Wednesday is the deadline to register to vote in the Aug. 7 primary. Anyone mailing in a registration form must have it postmarked by that date. Fulton voter Stephanie Buchholz said not voting means not being able to make a decision.

"Just because they don't have all the things together, you just need to vote," she said.

On Aug. 7, everyone in Missouri will have the chance to vote in the primaries for the U.S. Senate and House and state auditor races. Voters also will decide the fate of Proposition A. If approved, it would uphold Missouri's new right-to-work law. A "no" vote would return Missouri's laws concerning union dues and membership to their pre-2017 configuration. Some state legislative seats have contested primaries as well.

Columbia voter Emily Cissi, a high school teacher, said she considers the primary more important than the general election.

"In the general election, you've already kind of narrowed it down," she said. "If you really want to have a say in who's representing you, you have to vote in the primary."

In addition to the state and federal-level issues, some voters will decide county-level races. For example, Democrats in Boone and Callaway counties each face two choices for presiding commissioner while Cole County Republicans will decide between two candidates for prosecuting attorney. Finally, some cities and school districts took the opportunity to include their own ballot issues. Columbia voters will decide on a nearly $43 million waterworks bond issue and parents in the Fulton School District will consider whether to raise the district's property tax levy to pay for mental health services.

Fulton voter Steven Gunn said voters need to make their voices heard.

"If you don't, you don't have a right to complain if the outcome is not what you wanted," he said.

Voters can find registration instructions and forms on the secretary of state's website. Anyone who misses the deadline has until Oct. 10 to register for the general election.

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