With a change in leadership on the horizon, the St. Louis County Election Commission is taking preliminary steps toward resolving a pattern of missteps that has marred countywide voting twice in under 18 months. At separate meetings Tuesday afternoon, the commission and the County Council gave voice to the sense of urgency for change at the beleaguered agency as it prepares for the most important date on the electoral calendar: the Nov. 8 presidential balloting. One key figure, Republican Election Director Gary Fuhr, will be absent as the election office enters the fall election season and, prior to that, the August primary to pick the local candidates who will appear on November general election tickets.
The commission early Tuesday afternoon accepted the retirement of Fuhr, a former FBI agent and state representative who has occupied the post since 2012.
Fuhr stressed the decision was not connected to the issues that plagued voting at over 60 county polling places in the April 5 municipal elections. Similar problems arose in November 2014 general election.
Those irregularities prompted the commissioners on Tuesday to petition for special elections to recast the votes in the races for Berkeley mayor and an aldermanic contest in Sunset Hills. “It was going to happen sometime this year anyway,” Fuhr said of his retirement. “It was just a matter of when.”