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Issue: 1236 Date: 5/1/2014
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Special Election In City To Select Wessels' Replacement

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        Voters in St. Louis' 13th Ward will have a chance to pick their next alderman in Tuesday's special election.

        The seat was made vacant when former Alderman Fred Wessels was tapped by Mayor Francis Slay to serve as director of the Community Development Administration. Wessels served on the Board of Aldermen for more than 25 years.

        The 13th Ward encompasses neighborhoods like Carondelet, Dutchtown and Holly Hills.

        Two candidates are vying to be Wessels' successor: Democrat Beth Murphy and Republican Conan Prendergast. The Democratic candidate is heavily favored.

        Murphy was nominated by the city's Democratic Central Committee after serving as the 13th Ward's committeewoman for more than a decade. According to Prednergast's campaign site, he has a background in business management.

        Where to vote: If you live in the 13th Ward, you can find your polling place through St. Louis' website. What you need to bring: Voters have to bring identification to the polls, but it doesn't have to be a photo ID. Common forms include driver's licenses, utility bills and bank statements. The secretary of state's office has a more complete list of acceptable forms.

        No more flipping pages

        Tuesday's election will feature technology aimed at finding voter information quicker.

        Poll workers will have iPads equipped with voter registration information. When a voter comes to a polling place, the worker will use the iPad to bring up the name and address. It's called a Poll Pad, and it's meant as an alternative to paper binders that voters have to sign before casting a ballot.

        Scott Leiendecker -- a former elections director for the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners -- created the Poll Pad. He says the new technology will make the voting experience much easier for everybody.

        "The big thing for voters is it's going to advance them through the line a lot quicker," said Leiendecker, who owns a company called KNOW.iNK. "It will take them about 15 seconds to get through the line. You don't have to thumb through those pages anymore. It's simply put your driver's license down, put your bar code down and it finds you very quickly."

        Leiendecker says the Poll Pads cost about $820. He added that 40 Missouri counties -- including St. Charles County -- now use them to identify voters who show up on Election Day.

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