Although some Washington precincts have large numbers of voters, Franklin County Clerk Debbie Door says all county voting precincts will remain the same.
Currently there are 63 precincts covering every corner of Franklin County. During an election cycle, some smaller precincts are combined and the number shrinks to 51 poling places.
In a letter to the county commission and central committees of both the county Democratic and Republican parties, Door said the 2016 election was the largest ever in Franklin County.
“It was conducted without any problems,” Door said. “There was a short wait time to vote and all equipment was in working order.”
In the letter, Door added she did not see any need to purchase any new election equipment at this time either.
During the November presidential election, 71.8 percent of the county’s registered voters cast 50,864 ballots at their precinct polling places.
The primary election in August, which essentially decided several county office races including sheriff, had a 36.4 percent voter turnout with 25,183 ballots cast.
During the April 2016 municipal elections, voter turnout was only 21.4 percent, with 14,675 ballots cast.
The presidential primary in March 2016 drew a 42 percent voter turnout with 29,117 ballots cast.
To give added perspective, in the November 2012 presidential election, turnout was 67.6 percent with 47,167 ballots cast by 69,684 registered voters.
The number of registered voters in the county fluctuated during 2016, which had four countywide elections.
Of the four elections the total averaged 69,423 with the high point being 70,776 in November.
As of August 2017, the total number of registered voters is 69,532. Of those, 5,291 are inactive, leaving the true total at 64,210.
An inactive voter is classified as someone who hasn’t voted in a number of years, or the clerk’s office does not have an accurate address for them.
Once they come to the polls and provide identification they will again become an active voter. To register to vote, you must be at least 171/2 years of age, a U. S. citizen and a Missouri resident.
The population of the county is roughly 102,000 people and 69,210 registered voters leaving about 35,000 residents not registered, or taking part in county elections.
Those people were the subject of a voter registration drive spearheaded at 11 different locations throughout the county in June 2016 that met with dismal results.
“We only registered 29 new voters and had 28 changes of addresses,” Door said. “I’m very disappointed in the number we received compared to the amount of time and money we put into the drives.”
Door said in all, 22 seasonal election workers manned the registration drives. Add in preparation and advertising it cost the county $2,100.
“That doesn’t even include the cost of my office staff planning the events” Door said. “With the 29 applications we received, that comes to $73.65 per application, I don’t think it was worth it.”
With the dismal turnout, Door scrapped plans to hold a similar voting drive, last fall.
Door said the majority of people the election workers engaged either said they were already registered, weren’t interested, or simply didn’t have time.