The state’s County Clerks are expecting a record turnout for Tuesday’s election. Even though polls are open for 13 hours – 6 a.m.-7 p.m., lines are expected at busier polling locations.
Missouri Association of County Clerks President Peggy Kenny says some voters will be challenged by the number of ballot measures in addition to candidates. “We do feel like it’s going to take longer because the ballot is very lengthy when you have as many amendments for people to read through” said Kenny. “That can take longer to vote the ballots. We do think that it will take some people longer to vote their ballot than in some years past.”
Five constitutional amendments and one proposition are on the ballot. They deal with a tax for soil and water conservation, a sales tax on services, campaign contributions, a voter ID law and two measures on cigarette taxes.
The wording on one of the ballot measures could cause confusion to some voters. A yes vote on Amendment 4 supports a ban on sales taxes on services while a no vote allows such taxes to be imposed.
Kenny says “fair ballot language” is available at all polling places to assist voters. “We have those available for people to help explain the amendments in simpler terms. That’s why it’s called fair ballot language, to help people understand what they’re reading. We’re hoping that that helps (so they can) mark the ballot in the way they actually are intending to vote. We don’t want people to vote differently than what they think they’re voting.” “Fair ballot language” is supplied by the Missouri Secretary of State’s office and is contained on posters at polling places.
The secretary’s office is predicting a record of more than 3 million votes to be cast Tuesday. The statewide picture was developed through data collected by local election authorities. Kenny claims county clerks have made accommodations for the increase in voting. “Most county clerks, whenever they ordered ballots, they ordered 110 percent or 120 percent of the voter registration that they had at the time, knowing that we would have an increased volume of people registering to vote, so that that would help insure that there would be ample ballots throughout the day.”
County clerks had to order ballots in time to meet a September deadline to send them out to military personnel overseas. They also had to allow for continued voter registration through October 12th.
There’s some opposition to a decision to station off-duty deputies inside polling places in Springfield. Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller says he made the move as a response to the current unstable political climate. Kenny doesn’t see much interest in doing the same thing in other counties. “As far as I know, there hasn’t been any discussion throughout the association that this is a need. Those are just what particular isolated cases that those election authorities feel like that they want to do.” The Greene County Democratic Party and the Missouri NAACP are against the placement of deputies inside polling places.