With the primary election less than a week away, Franklin County Clerk Debbie Door is predicting only about one in five registered voters will head to the polls to cast ballots Aug. 7.
Door told The Missourian she expects 20 to 22 percent voter turnout.
She said she analyzed election results dating back to 1996 and saw a bit of a trend.
“During a re-election cycle, you just don’t have that high of a turnout. The highest we’ve had since 1996 was 46 percent in 2004. Normally, it ranges from 14 to 24 percent,” Door said.
If Door’s prediction is right, roughly 12,000 to 15,000 ballots will be cast this year.
Voters heading out to the polls will need to remember what ballot to ask for, however.
Missouri has an open primary, meaning people can vote for any party they choose, but must pick a single party’s ballot.
Choices this year include the Republican, Democratic, Constitution and Libertarian parties, as well as a nonpartisan ballot which will include only a proposed Missouri constitutional amendment, Amendment 2.
That amendment, supporters say, would strengthen freedom of religion protections. Opponents say it would take away rights for prisoners, allow students to opt out of lessons in school they object to on a religious or moral basis and would allow governmental meetings to begin with sectarian prayer.
For Franklin County offices, the Republican ticket is the only one with primary contests.
The winners of some of those primaries, such as in the race for county assessor and second district commissioner, will face opponents in the November general election.
In other races such as first district commissioner and country treasurer, the winner of the Republican primary will be unopposed in November.
Some statewide offices have multiple candidates on both the Republican and Democratic ballots.
“When people come into the polling places, typically they’re not allowed to have any sort of brochures because they’re not allowed to do any sort of electioneering,” Door noted. “If people have a copy of the ballot, such as the ones printed in the newspaper, to help them know what kind of ballot to get, that’s fine.”
She said those unsure of what ballot they need will be able to view sample ballots — posted on tables or walls at every polling place — prior to asking for a ballot.
The sample ballots will be labeled as such and will be yellow in color, Door said.
She noted that those needing to vote absentee can do so until 5 p.m. Monday, including this Saturday, Aug. 4, from 8 a.m. to noon at her office in Downtown Union.
“For this election, it is too late to request an absentee ballot (by mail), but anyone who is homebound and unable to come into the polling place on Election Day should contact my office and we’ll put them on a permanent disability list,” she said.
People on that list are mailed an application for a ballot prior to each election, Door said.