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Cole County expects 75 percent voter turnout

Cole County expects 75 percent voter turnout

November 6th, 2016 by Jeff Haldiman in Local News

Luana Gifford fills out her ballot in early voting at the Cole County Clerk's office Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Absentee voting began Sept. 27 and runs through Nov. 7 for the Nov. 8 election. After the election, she will be part of a group that will work to verify ballots.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

Highly contested presidential, governor and U.S. Senate races have led Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer to predict there will be a 75 percent voter turnout for Tuesday's general election.

"That's based on the past two presidential elections, where we had 73 percent in 2008 and 70 percent in 2012," he said.

There were 53,816 registered voters in the county at the end of October. Korsmeyer's office has printed 40,000 ballots.

"We'll also send out some extra ballots with election workers during the day to make sure enough are out there," he said.

A steady stream of absentee voting has been taking place just outside the clerk's office, Korsmeyer said. As of Thursday morning, 3,253 absentee ballots had been cast.

"I'm expecting around 4,000 when we're done because we had that many in '08," he said.

Korsmeyer does not anticipate any problems on Election Day.

"The local Democrat and Republican committees have requested to have poll watchers come out, so they'll be observing how things are going," he said.

Although there are no local write-in candidates, several are registered for national and statewide races, which Korsmeyer said will take more time to count.

"We'll have a special team come in and count those," he said. "Write-ins have to be manually calculated. It's a non-partisan group of workers."

Although the voters he's talked with seem to have a good idea of the candidates they plan to vote for, Korsmeyer said there is some confusion about the constitutional amendments on the ballot. He and his staff have been referring those with questions about the amendments to the secretary of state's website, sos.mo.gov.

"If you search for 'fair ballot language' on the website, you'll be directed to an area that gives a rundown of the amendments and what would happen if they are passed or defeated," he said. "We encourage everyone to educate themselves as much as possible before going to vote."

Korsmeyer said Cole County will have 150 poll workers for this election manning the county's 28 polling places.

"We've deployed a few extra people," he said. "At some spots four, some six and some eight. The extra folks should make things go through faster."

Korsmeyer asks voters to have their voter registration cards with them when they go to vote. The cards show each voter's polling location, as well as county district and Missouri House of Representatives district (49, 50, 59, 60 or 62).

More information about elections is available on the county clerk's page on the county's website, colecounty.org.

"We are prepared as we can be," he said. "Even with all this preparation, I think we'll be lucky to be done by 11 p.m."