Our Opinion: Voters Tuesday can improve good forecast

News Tribune editorial

A 42 percent voter turnout is like a 90-degree day – satisfying only in comparison to recent trends.

Cole County Clerk Marvin Register has predicted 42 percent of county voters will go to the polls Tuesday.

His forecast is based on a 38 percent turnout four years ago and the issues on Tuesday’s ballot. Among those issues are two proposed tax increases.

Proposition 2 – the more controversial of the two -- would impose a quarter-cent sales tax for Jefferson City residents for the fire department. Approval would eliminate a 9.61-cent property tax directed to the firefighters’ retirement fund.

Question A would increase the property tax by 10 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for the Missouri River Regional Library, which serves patrons in Cole and Osage counties. The nearly 50 percent increase would raise the tax from almost 20 cents to 30 cents.

Register’s forecast exceeds the estimated statewide turnout of 25 percent predicted by Missouri’s chief election authority, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

The Associated Press characterized the estimate as “fairly typical for recent primaries,” and referenced the 23 percent turnout statewide in the August 2010 primary.

Both statewide and in Cole County, contested GOP primaries are likely to attract Republican voters.

Democrats also will have choices to make, although they are comparatively fewer.

When it comes to forecasts, a 90-degree day would be a welcome change, but an 80-day would be even better.

Similarly, a 42 percent turnout would be encouraging, but a higher number is preferable.

Eligible voters can make that happen by going to the polls Tuesday.

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