Thanks to several highly publicized statewide issues, voters came out in large numbers for the August and November elections, according to figures released this week by Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer.
For the November election, out of 53,240 registered voters, 33,737 ballots were cast. That figures to more than 63 percent of voters turning out. In August, there were 52,483 voters registered in the county and 20,825 votes cast, which totals nearly 40 percent voter turnout.
"Medical marijuana, minimum wage and right to work were among the big reasons I believe we saw these numbers," Korsmeyer said.
Korsmeyer also had a breakdown of the ages of voters:
"There were pushes made by us and election officials across the state, along with those involved with the statewide measures, to get young people out to vote, and it worked," Korsmeyer said. "As I went around to the polling locations, I saw a lot of young faces, and that's great."
Korsmeyer also noted the costs to run these elections have been going down since the county got new voting equipment in 2016. He said for the August election, the cost was $72,383 and $71,556 for the November election.
"They're a lot cheaper now than when we used the old punch hole machines," Korsmeyer said. "It cost probably $140,000 in the past, and now we're down to half that amount. The programming and printing costs are a lot cheaper with the new machines."