Franklin County Clerk Debbie Door says voter turnout Tuesday will be near a record high and the Senate race may be the reason.
“I am predicting between 60-65 percent voter turnout,” Door said. “I think because of the McCaskill-Hawley race, as well as some of the amendments that are on the ballot, that it will bring voters out.”
The highest voter turnout for a general election in recent years was in 2012 when 67 percent of the 70,776 registered voters in the county cast ballots, but that was a presidential year. That year, 49,298 people voted.
The 2014 midterm election marked the lowest voter turnout when just 38 percent of registered voters cast ballots. That year, 26,337 of the total 69,318 registered voters cast ballots.
Door said as of last Thursday, 2,740 people had already voted and 993 had been walk-ins at the clerk’s office.
The other 1,747 were absentee ballots received in person.
Another factor in Door’s prediction for the high voter turnout is the uptick in voter registrations since the Aug. 7 primary election.
“We have gained about 1,200 new registrants since August which is a little more than normal,” Door said. “We currently have 67,643 active voters; 4,334 inactive; and 44 pending for a total of 72,021 registered voters.”
Door explained active voters are those voters who have voted in recent past elections.
The inactive voters are those who have been sent election notification notices and they have come back to the county with no forwarding address.
Pending are those voters who have registered, but not voted yet.
With one of the longest ballots in state history this November, voters may want to plan a little extra time at the polls.
In addition to the heated U.S. Senate race, the Nov. 6 ballot in Franklin County will feature a congressional race, four state representative races, a state Senate race and numerous uncontested races for county offices.
And, there’s more.
Voters also will be asked to decide four constitutional amendments and three additional propositions ranging from minimum wage to marijuana to a gasoline tax.
The seven ballot initiatives make the November ballot crowded.
In fact, the November 2018 ballot will feature the third highest number of ballot initiatives in the last 108 years.
Doors says election staff at polling places are prepared for the long ballots.
“There may be a line at the polls, but we’ll get everyone processed as soon as possible,” Door said. “Anyone in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.”
Door added this is the longest ballot that the county has ever had.
“We’ve set up extra voting booths to allow everyone to take their time,” she said. “It will take a few seconds longer to run the ballot through the ballot box because we have a 17-inch ballot, front and back. We are asking everyone to wait till their ballot has completely been fed into the black ballot box before they leave the box. We are also asking for voters to be patient.”