St. Charles election director candidate claims error on a sample ballot

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ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) - Misspellings and even missing words seem more common place in these days of rapid fire messaging via social media. But a mistake on a real ballot could be a violation of state law.

That's the problem a candidate for St. Charles County Elections Director saw when she discovered the "Director of Elections" title was missing from a sample ballot.

Democratic nominee Kate Runyan requested a copy of the ballot on September 26th and was given one printed from a computer system tied to the Secretary of State's office.

Without the title in place, it appeared the candidates Rich Chrismer and Runyan were seeking the County Executive office along with nominated candidates Steve Ehlman and Rod Zerr.

Republican incumbent Rich Chrismer, who is seeking his fourth term as elections director, says the mistake appeared only on a sample ballot and was corrected by September 29th.

He blamed the Secretary of State's office for the error.

"The state missed the title because the state does not recognize director of elections as elected officials in charter counties," Chrismer said adding that is true except in St. Charles and Jefferson counties where the post is still an elected one.

Runyan , who worked for Chrismer from 2010 until this summer, questioned his conclusion. "The state has always taken the information from the counties and our director of elections has been an elected position for at least the twelve years Mr. Chrismer has been in office so why would they not know that just this one year?" she said.

A spokeswoman for the Missouri Secretary of State's office said bi-partisan election judge panels will count the absentee ballots. If the election were close, the ballots could be used as evidence during a court challenge.

Runyan said an employee inside the elections office told her 75 absentee ballots had been issued with the mistake. Chrismer denied that.

Ballot shortages are also an issue Runyan brings up. She says some polling places have not had enough ballots during the past three elections. Chrismer insists no shortage of ballots has occurred. He said he orders 10 percent more than he expects for each ballot to save taxpayers money. Runyan questions that pointing out voters could lose their right to vote if they had to leave for work.