Voter turnout at 65.7 percent, less than 2008

Missouri voters voted in big numbers in this year’s election, but not as big as in 2008, according to figures released Wednesday.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s office said 2.7 million people, or 65.7 percent of voters, turned out for Tuesday’s general election. Both the raw number and the percentage were down from 2008, when a record 2.9 million voters, or 69.4 percent, went to the polls.

Turnout fell short of the 72 percent that had been projected by Carnahan based on a compilation of predictions from the 116 local election authorities around the state. Missouri has 4.2 million registered voters.

“At the end of the day, though, that was still great turnout,” said Stacie Temple, Carnahan’s spokeswoman.

A few scattered problems were reported. A machine at a Kansas City polling place repeatedly rejected paper ballots. A legally blind voter in Kansas City said her precinct had no provision to help her vote and she felt violated by having to dictate her choices.

In St. Louis County, voters faced some long lines. Rita Days, Democratic director of elections for the county, said lines were three hours long for a while at a church in the northern part of the county. When election officials became aware of the problem they stepped in to help judges move the lines more quickly, she said.

The county also ran out of paper ballots at a precinct at Washington University, delaying college-age voters for about an hour. And Day was aware of one voter turned away because of inadequate identification.

On the plus side, she said, election judges were able to accommodate more senior citizens with curbside voting — judges from both parties go to the curb to help the disabled vote from their car — and teams of judges even went to hospitals to help patients cast ballots.

“Overall it was a very good day,” Day said. “I think we hit the mark.”

Turnout ranged from highs of 72.4 percent in mid-Missouri’s Osage County and 72.3 percent in St. Charles County to a low of 52.6 percent in Sullivan County.

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