Douglas County Voter Turnout Exceptionally High

County Road Sales Tax Passes,
City Transportation Tax Rejected

Several important issues brought Douglas County voters to the polls on Tuesday as 60% of registered voters in the county came out to voice their stance and opinion in the midterm election held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.  The voting tally shows 5,636 of the 9,338 registered voters in Douglas County cast a ballot on Tuesday, and according to County Clerk Karry Davis that is an exceptional voter turnout for a midterm general election.  

In fact, Davis said the 2016 presidential election drew 69.80% of Douglas County voters to the polls, and this midterm election was very close to reaching that number, which for a midterm in Douglas County is not the norm. Davis noted her office was pleased to see such a high level of interest in ballot issues. 

Two issues important to local folks were the proposed sales tax issue for Douglas County road improvements, and the City of Ava transportation sales tax earmarked for street and roadway infrastructure improvements within the city limits of Ava.  

On Tuesday, local voters endorsed the one-half of one percent (1/2 of 1%) countywide sales tax for county road and bridge improvements, while residents in the City voted down the proposed transportation sales tax question for street improvements within the city limits of Ava.

The county sales tax question was a close race for local voters as the question passed with 54.18% of the vote, and 45.82% against.  The voter numbers were 2,951 for, and 2,496 against. 

In the city sales tax question, votes recorded were 591 against or 62.81%, and 350 in favor.      

In the U.S. Senate race, Douglas County voters helped  Republican candidate Josh Hawley, Missouri’s current Attorney General, unseat incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill from office.  

Douglas County voters gave Hawley 4,333 votes, which totaled 77.50% of the vote; McCaskill received 1,098 or 19.64%.  

Libertarian candidate Japheth Campbell received 57 votes, Green Party candidate Jo Crain, 22, Independent Craig O’Dear, 76, and there were five write-in votes. 

In the race for state auditor, incumbent Nicole Galloway held on to her office and won her first election.  Galloway was appointed to the state position in 2015 when appointed by former Gov. Jay Nixon.  She was challenged by Republican Saundra McDowell, and in Douglas County, McDowell received 64.74% of the votes, but across the state, Galloway recorded over 50% of the vote. 

According to state sources, Missouri’s Amendment 1, also known as “Clean Missouri” passed on Tuesday.   Briefly, Amendment 1 reestablishes a new process for redistricting, sets new limits and standards for campaign contributions, and requires legislators and employees to wait two years before becoming a paid lobbyist. 

Voters had three marijuana initiatives on the ballot, with two state constitutional amendments and Proposition C, but according to state tallies, only Missouri Amendment 2 passed.

In Missouri, at the state level, Amendment 2 legalizes the growing, manufacturing, selling and consuming of marijuana and marijuana products for medicinal use.  Taxation on marijuana under this Amendment is four percent, and this four percent tax is projected to add $18 million to veterans programs, cover state operating costs, and provide $6 million for local governments with the collection of taxes and fees. 

On Proposition D which proposed increasing the motor fuel tax by two and one half cents per gallon annually for four years, Missouri voters rejected the increase by saying no, and Douglas County voters followed the state lead.  In Douglas County, voters unanimously said no to the tax with 3,944 voters against, and 1,520 saying yes to the tax. 

Missouri voters readily embraced Proposition B, the initiative petition to increase the state minimum wage, with the first increase to occur in January with $8.50.  According to the proposition, the state minimum wage will be $12.00 per hour in four years, by 2023.  

Douglas County voters were split on the minimum wage increase issue as 2,548 voted in favor, with 46.58%; and 2,922 voted against, 53.42%.

Missouri Amendment 4, which lessened restriction on individuals operating bingo games, was a fairly tight race, as the unofficial tally has a difference of approximately 107,000 votes in approval.  In Douglas County, voters stood against passage of the change with 3,295 voters saying no, and 1,991 voting yes, a 62.33% to 37.67% difference, respectively. 

In the state representative race for District 8, Republican incumbent Jason Smith was overwhelmingly chosen over the Democratic challenger Kathy Ellis.  In Douglas County, Smith received 81.75% of the vote, with Ellis getting 16.52%. 

Karla Eslinger, who is running unopposed for State Representative District 155 and the seat currently held by Lyle Rowland, received 4,784 votes in Douglas County, and 34 write-in votes in opposition. 

Douglas County candidates on the general election midterm ballot were all unopposed for office, and they include, Craig Carter, Circuit Judge Circuit 44, 98.95% of votes; Elizabeth Bock, Associate Circuit Judge, 98.94%; Lance Stillings, Presiding Commissioner, 98.92%; Karry Davis, County Clerk, 99.48%; Kim Hathcock, Clerk Circuit Court, 99.62%; Jacinda Sheppard, Recorder of Deeds, 99.61%; Theresa Miller, County Treasurer, 99.43%; Chris Wade, Prosecuting Attorney, 98.91% Laura Stillings, Collector of Revenue, 99.58%. 

In Gainesville, the school district’s proposal to increase the operating tax levy of the district was voted down.  This is the second time the ballot issue has failed to gain voter approval.