Man reportedly crashes into church, pours water on voting machines, forcing polling place change

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — A polling place in North City suddenly had to move at the last minute Tuesday after police said a man crashed into a church and then poured water on voting equipment.

Around 11 a.m., the City of St. Louis said polling places for precincts 1, 4, 5, 8 in Ward 22 changed due to “unforeseen circumstances” outside the Board’s control. Voters who would normally vote at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church at 5515 Martin Luther King should head to Pierre Laclede Junior Career Academy, 5821 Kennerly Avenue.

Earlier this morning, a man backed into the church’s fence, which damaged the church. He then poured water onto voting equipment and a 68-year-old woman. He was taken into custody shortly after. No one was injured, police said.

He was also taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Election officials said they were relocating voting machines so locals would be able to vote by noon. 

OTHER VOTING ISSUES

Voters reported issues with a lack of paper ballots and glitches with the electronics. Rick Stream with St. Louis County Board of Elections said about 50 polling stations had issues connecting to WiFi and printers. 

Stream said some polling stations had problems printing paper ballots in the new Ballot on Demand voting system. Paper ballots are not pre-printed. This is the first election where St. Louis County has used this new printing system countywide. All machines were tested a week before the election, Stream said.

With a lag in the WiFi making it hard to scan bar codes to print the paper ballots. Stream said poll works should have used the back-up manual system but not all poll workers followed their training. 

Stream said the 3,200 poll workers were all properly trained. They had to take a four-hour class but many are new and nervous while others called off after concerns about the coronavirus. 

Another issue some poll workers faced was getting into the sites. Poll workers were supposed to arrive at stations at 5 a.m. In some cases, they arrived on time but weren’t able to get into the building. 

St. Louis County said they have plenty of standby poll workers. They would like to have eight poll workers at every station but only have six per polling site.

Viewers told us there were issues at the polling station at Highcroft Elementary School in Chesterfield. A viewer told News 4 the polling station was allegedly turning people away.

We’ve also heard about issues at a St. Peters church and Gary Gore Elementary School in Jennings. Other issues have been reported at Affton High School polling place that printers were not working.

A News 4 viewer told us the St. Louis County Library Natural Bridge Branch didn’t open on time. Polling stations were supposed to open at 6 a.m.

We’re still waiting to hear back from the St. Charles County Board of Elections.

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