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Cole County voter turnout exceeded forecast

Clerk praises performance of electronic poll books

Poll worker Sarah Briggs, right, scans Margaret Gale-Wells’ driver’s license through a new Election Administrators system Tuesday afternoon at Jefferson City's McClung Park pavilion. “We’re moving voters through fast because we don’t have to look them up in the book,” Briggs said, adding the new system will make an even bigger difference in major elections. Briggs can also access the system with a voter’s name, date of birth, voter card or voter ID. The information appears on the computer screen for verification.

Poll worker Sarah Briggs, right, scans Margaret Gale-Wells’ driver’s license through a new Election Administrators system Tuesday afternoon at Jefferson City's McClung Park pavilion. “We’re moving voters through fast because we don’t have to look them up in the book,” Briggs said, adding the new system will make an even bigger difference in major elections. Briggs can also access the system with a voter’s name, date of birth, voter card or voter ID. The information appears on the computer screen for verification. Photo by Kelley McCall.

“I like losing on something like this.” That was the feeling of Cole County Clerk Marvin Register who saw his prediction exceeded for voter turnout in Tuesday’s election.

Register had predicted a 12 percent turnout, but the final unofficial numbers showed an 18 percent turnout.

“We had a steady stream of voters,” Register said. “Some precincts in the city area had heavier numbers.”

Of the 51,037 registered voters in the county, 9,448 voters cast ballots.

Register said the new electronic poll books worked well and even surprised some of the poll workers at how easily they could get the voter identification and registrations.

“I think this showed we should be able to go from eight to six poll workers at polling places without any problems,” Register said.

These poll books were used at all city polling places and in Taos, but Register said all polling places in the county will have them for the special election in June when voters will be asked to decide on the renewal of the county’s half-cent sales tax.

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