Due to high profile presidential and gubernatorial races this year, Franklin County Clerk Debbie Door, chief election official, is predicting countywide voter turnout between 73 and 76 percent.
“I think the interesting thing with this year’s election will be out of that turnout, how many will not vote for president,” Door said. “Any year that there is a presidential/governor’s race involved, it will bring out more voters. We are expecting a heavier than normal turnout so we would appreciate the patience of the voters if there is a line. We will try to process the voters as soon as we can.”
Door added the weather plays an important role in any election, but as of now the extended forecast looks good, so she hopes it will be a good day.
“Weather does have an effect on voter turnout, especially if it is raining,” Door said. “This is really the case in an April election. With turnout at about 10-15 percent in an April election, if it is cold or rainy, voters just don’t come out.”
Despite some confusion, Missouri does not allow “early voting” but does have absentee voting, which allows a voter to vote under the following conditions:
1. They will be absent from their voting jurisdiction on Election Day;
2. They are incapacitated or confined due to illness or physical disability or is someone caring for an incapacitated person;
3. They are restricted by religious belief practice;
4. They are employed by the Election Day authority.
“We have sent out 3,088 absentee ballots,” Door said. “As of today (Friday) 2,520 have been returned, so we still could get 568. That is on par for the 2008 November election.”
Over the past several weeks and months, Door’s staff has been training both their veterans and newcomers to the county election process.
“As with any election, we have mandatory training for our election judge workers or anyone who will be working in the polling precincts,” Door said. “That would include students who are working as Missouri Youth Participation judges.”
Door added for this election we also have Voting Assistant Specialists who basically stand by the door and make sure the voters have their identification ready for the election judges and can assist the election judges with change of addresses or new registrations.
If a voter registers on Election Day they will not be allowed to vote in this election, but will be registered for future elections,” Door said. “We have 70,716 registered voters. Of those, 64,206 are active voters and 6,510 inactive.”
An inactive voter would be a voter who has registered to vote but has not voted in an election yet.
“It could also be a voter who is registered but we do not have a good address so we have no idea how to get in touch with them,” Door said. “If they come into the precinct on Election Day, we will do a change of address form for them and possibly allow them to vote assuming they still live in Franklin County.”
Door added there are no changes in polling places or procedures since the last election in August.