Fourth Ward to vote at Hannibal Nutrition Center

Fourth Ward voters in Hannibal will cast ballots on Tuesday, April 2, at the Hannibal Nutrition Center, 219 S. 10th St., instead of at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center.

Marion County Clerk Valerie Dornberger announced the change Wednesday after speaking with Aron Lee of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department.

"He said they don't think the water will be down (inside the structure) enough by election day, and we are supposed to get more rain over the weekend," she said.

Dornberger, who is not expecting a big voter turnout Tuesday, is relying on a media blitz and signage to get the word out to the Fourth Ward's 1,451 voters.

"We're going to have signs down by the armory directing people there (nutrition center) in case they don't hear it on TV, or the radio, or see it in the newspaper or on Facebook," she said. "Hopefully it won't put people out too badly. It is only a few blocks from where they normally vote."

Dornberger said the nutrition center "will be perfect" as a substitute polling place.

"There is plenty of parking," she said. "It should work out well."

Had the nutrition center not been willing to open its doors to Fourth Ward voters, Dornberger's options would've been limited. She may have sent Fourth Ward voters to the Third Ward polling place on Chestnut. Another possibility would have been seeing if the Missouri National Guard Armory, located off of U.S. 61 south, was available. Dornberger said neither of those options were ideal because of their distance from the Fourth Ward.

This is the first time during Dornberger's tenure as county clerk that the recreation center has not been available because of flood water.

"Isn't that unbelievable?" she said. "It just happened that (in the past) it flooded after the election or before an election, and it was already cleaned up and over with."

Having to change polling place locations because of flooding at the recreation center has not prompted Dornberger to consider finding a location away from the floodplain.

"I really don't want to move it (Fourth Ward polling place) if I don't have to. It's a pretty good location. It is plenty big enough and the parking is good," she said. "There are not a lot of locations in the Fourth Ward that would have the room to accommodate us or would want us there."