Hannibal residents casting votes in the April election will have more to read than just the three propositions that will appear on the ballot.

Hannibal residents casting votes in the April election will have more to read than just the three propositions that will appear on the ballot.

Because of their length, a shortened version of each proposition will appear on the ballot. However, the city is required to provide voters at each polling place the complete text of each proposition.

While she knew the propositions were long, City Clerk Angel Zerbonia had no inkling of the issues their length might present.

“I figured due to the length there would be additional fees passed on to the city for printing of the ballot,” she said.

Zerbonia was advised by Sandy Lanier, Ralls County clerk, of the problem after hearing from the county’s ballot printer that the proposed ballot language was too long.

Upon checking, Zerbonia discovered Marion County had the same issue.

Potential solutions were explored.

“From what the Ralls County clerk told me, even reducing the font it still was too large for the ballot,” said Zerbonia.

Ultimately an acceptable solution was proposed.

“I communicated with both counties along with the company that provides layout and printing of the ballots and it appears the best solution to the problem is to condense the question,” wrote Zerbonia, offering the proposal the the City Council on Feb. 7 after consulting with City Attorney James Lemon.

Making full versions of the propositions available to voters is an acceptable solution as far as the secretary of state’s office is concerned.

“According to what the Marion County clerk’s office advised me, they did indeed check (with state officials), and this was the best solution. It is a method used with large state propositions as well,” said Zerbonia.

Ralls County has requested 100 copies of the complete propositions. In Marion County, 5,000 full copies of the propositions will be provided.

“We (city) will be required to provide and pay for the printing of the full ballot language,” said Zerbonia, adding she does not yet know what the cost will be.

As part of each proposition’s ballot language will be a statement that encourages voters to read the full proposition.

Will voters take the time to read the entire propositions?

“I certainly hope so as to be informed on what they are voting on, however, proposition 1 is very lengthy and I would assume some people won’t take the time to read it and will vote based on the question as presented on the ballot,” said Zerbonia.

Proposition 1, if approved, would ban the use of ammonia in the city’s water system.

Proposition 2 would, if approved, amend provisions of the City Charter to make them consistent with state law regarding the municipal court system.

Proposition 3 would, if approved, modify provisions of the City Charter regarding the maximum age of the municipal judge to be consistent with state law.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com