Mid-Missouri voter turnout lower than expected | Elections

MID-MISSOURI — Many voters made their way to polling stations Tuesday to fill out their Election Day ballots.

Looking at the results, the numbers are slightly lower than those reported for Boone and Cole counties during the 2018 election.

Boone County residents cast a total of 53,800 ballots Tuesday, of which 8,600 were absentee ballots. Overall turnout was 49.4%, just short of the expected result of 50% to 55% that Boone County clerk Brianna Lennon was expecting.

She attributed some of the lower numbers to absenteeism with no apology.

“We expected the two-week, no-pardon ballot before the election would put some people off, and it does, but we still experienced high levels of absenteeism compared to previous years,” Lennon said.

For comparison, Boone County had 70,600 voters in the 2018 midterm elections, of which 5,045 were absentee ballots. Overall turnout was 70.35%, which is very high even for a presidential election, Lennon said.

Boone County didn’t expect another turnout of this magnitude, but it did come with an uptick in absentee voting that will be tracked in future elections.

For Cooper County, the total number of votes as of Tuesday was 28,788. Of those votes, 8,600 of them came from postal votes.

This is down from 2018 when 33,737 people cast ballots in the county.

In 2018, the county had 5,045 mail-in ballots, so there was another increase in mail-in ballots.

Overall, turnout between those two elections rose from 63.37% in 2018 to 53.08% in Tuesday’s election.

Postal voting has increased drastically in these two districts despite the overall fall in voter turnout.

A new law passed in Missouri allowed voters to change their addresses if they moved county by Election Day. In past elections, voters who moved from one county to another in the state had to register their address four weeks in advance of Election Day.

This allowed a solid number of voters to still find their way to the polls and be eligible to vote, Lennon said.

“The line at our office was out the door yesterday and a lot of people changed their addresses at the last minute so they could vote,” she said.

Provisional and military ballots are still being counted, which could slightly impact poll numbers.

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