October 28, 2004

Blunt Predicts 63 Percent Turnout on November 2nd

With the volatile nature of the national and state elections and a number of local races, Scotland County Clerk Betty Lodewegen is anticipating at least 75 percent of Scotland County voters to head to the polls next week.

In preparation for the November 2nd election, Lodewegen has announced that the county clerkís office will be open Saturday, October 30th to allow voters that will be unable to make it to the polls on Tuesday, a chance to vote by absentee ballot. The office will be open from 8:00 a.m. until noon. This is in addition to regular office hours, during which absentee ballots may also be cast.

The county clerk said she expects as many as 250 absentee ballots to be cast in her office for the November election.

She pointed to the 75-percent voter turnout for the 2000 presidential election and said she would not be surprised if the numbers were higher this year.

Secretary of State Matt Blunt has predicted that 63 percent of Missouriís 4,206,423 registered voters will go to the polls on November 2.

Bluntís prediction is an average of turnout estimates submitted to his office by Missouriís local election officials.

A 63 percent turnout would exceed the 2000 level where 61 percent of registered voters cast ballots, but would not reach participation levels for presidential contests in 1996, when 65 percent participated and in 1992, when 78 percent went to the polls.

ďMy hope is that actual turnout will greatly exceed the expectations of local election officials, and I am encouraged that present projections already surpass the participation level achieved in 2000,Ē Blunt said.

The upcoming general election will be the fourth statewide vote conducted under new provisions that Blunt helped guide through the Legislature, including new voter identification standards and improved access to the ballot. The three earlier elections held under these reforms were free of the fraud and irregularities that marred the November 2000 general election in the City of St. Louis.

The polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Unofficial results will be updated on the secretary of stateís Internet site, www.sos.mo.gov, throughout the evening.

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