Could There Be Surprise Winner in Race for St. Louis Mayor?

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A steady flow of St. Louis city voters are going to the polls today to pick candidates for a new mayor — the first time in 16 years Mayor Francis Slay is not running for re-election.

UMSL Political Science Department Chair Dave Robertson says voters have a lot on their minds.

“They want a safe city, they want a prosperous city,” he says. “I think a lot of voters in the city have felt that maybe things have gotten at least too stable, too predictable, that there isn’t enough effort being put in to some of the areas of the city.”

After the surprise outcome of the fall presidential election, Robertson says it’s hard to predict how city voters will react to all the candidates running for mayor.

Conventional wisdom — and the polls — say Alderwoman Lyda Krewson is the favorite to win today’s Democratic primary.

But Robertson says you can’t rule out what he calls “the yeastiness of voters,” who could hand a surprise win to one of the other candidates — Lewis Reed, Tishaura Jones or Antonio French.

Voter turnout

The weather has been nice for Election Day in St. Louis, and voter turnout has been good.

“We really don’t have any hard numbers, but the voting has been steady throughout the day across the city,” says Republican Director of Elections Gary Stoff.

He thinks the fact that there are a number of contested races is also a factor in the turnout.

The election board was predicting as many as 35 percent of registered voters — 60,000 people — could head to the voter booths today.

And there have been no major problems with casting votes so far.

One ward did have trouble with an electronic voting machine.

“The optical scan machine, in a particular polling place, was not accepting the ballot; it wasn’t feeding through the scanner,” Stoff says.

He says staffers were able to work around the problem — voters put their ballots in a locked compartment, and when the machine was working again, poll workers ran them through the scanning machine.

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