Some Columbia voters were being redirected Tuesday to polling places different from those where they cast their ballots in previous elections due to changes made by the Boone County Clerk's office.

Jeremy Root arrived at the Fairview Road Church of Christ at 201 S. Fairview Road, where he has voted for nearly a decade, around 7 a.m. As he waited, he joked with a few of the poll workers about other voters being redirected to different locations, only to find out that he was one of them.

Root was redirected to the Fairview Community of Christ at 1111 S. Fairview Road, which is slightly less than a mile away from the church where he usually votes. Although Root knew where his new polling location was, he said he worried that others might not because it is less visible from the road and lacks prominent signs.

Root said that when he arrived at Fairview Road Church of Christ, he was only the fifth or sixth voter to be redirected. He told the Missourian he learned by 9 a.m. that about 35 voters had been sent elsewhere to cast their ballots.

Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks decided earlier this year to reduce the number of polling places for the municipal election, citing the probability of low voter turnout and a desire to save taxpayer money. The clerk's office also changed polling places in certain precincts in an attempt to make them more convenient. The decision to move the voting location from the Fairview Road Church of Christ to the Fairview Community of Christ, which is in Precinct 4A, would eliminate the need for many voters to drive north to cast their ballots.  

Burks said that, like every election, every registered voter was sent a voter ID card and information about where their Tuesday polling place would be.

"Occasionally what happens is that people don't check their sample ballots, and they just turn to the last place they voted," Burks said.

Nate Brown noticed his voting location had changed when he opened his sample ballot moments before leaving home to vote before work. When he arrived at his polling location at the Fairview Road Church of Christ around 8 a.m., he noticed two voters being redirected because they hadn't noticed their polling locations had changed. A poll worker told Brown that they had redirected 34 voters in the two hours after the polls opened at 6 a.m.

"The lesson I learned this morning was to always open your mail from the county clerk's office," Brown said.

Those who haven't voted yet can either check the mailing they should have received from the clerk or find out where their polling place is by visiting the clerk's website. They can also call the clerk's office at 573-886-4375.

  • Noah is a business reporter from Kansas City, Missouri. He is a junior studying business and economics journalism. Twitter: @higgins_dunn Email: noah.higginsdunn@gmail.com

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