Missouri expects many voters, shorter lines
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Missouri expects many voters, shorter lines

Date: October 29, 2008
By: Rebecca Layne
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: Missouri's registered voters have steadily increased in number since the 2004 presidential election. With November 4th approaching, the state is doing its best to avoid long lines, paper shortages and over-worked poll workers on election night. Rebecca Layne has more from Jefferson City. RunTime:2:40
OutCue: SOC

Local election officials in Missouri are predicting that nearly 80 percent of the 4.2 million registered state voters will show up at the polls in November.

For those who can't make it, absentee ballots are expected to equal or exceed the 200,000 cast in the last presidential election.

Ryan Hobart, Deputy Communications Director for the Secretary of State, says things have been done to accommodate the large number of expected voters.

 

Actuality:  HOBART21.WAV
Run Time: 00:25
Description: Basically, we've offered $2 million in increased funding, in grant funding for more poll workers around the state. We've also offered help in recruitng poll workers for our web site and through other means. We've encouraged them to make sure there are plenty of paper ballots for all the people who come through. And basically, just offered them materials and help anywhere they need it to get them ready for election day.

But there are still some glitches in Missouri's voting process.

Director of FairVote, Adam Fogel, says an August study conducted by the organization found that only 15 percent of the Missouri counties surveyed had a written allocation plan. This describes how a county plans to prepare for the election, and it can help fix problems come election day.

Fogel says a lack of polling locations on college campuses is also a problem in Missouri. 

Actuality:  FOGEL1.WAV
Run Time: 00:26
Description: There are 39 counties out of the 110 that we surveyed in Missouri with post secondary institutions, and we found that only 9 of that 39 will have on-campus polling locations. So we thought that was a problem specifically because students have traditionally had problems getting to the polls and you know, having access to the polls. With 9 out of 39 counties having access for students, that could be a problem as well.


Since the August report, Fogel says the Secretary of State's office has made some definite improvements in voting procedures.

Despite some flaws, Larry Norden, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York, says Missouri ranks as one of the most prepared states for election day in terms of security checks, accurate vote-counting procedures and paper records.

 

Actuality:  NORDEN1.WAV
Run Time: 00:21
Description: At the county level, is something done to make sure that at the end of the day you're getting all of the totals from all of the precincts, you're not somehow missing them? This has been a problem in the past where votes from certain precincts have been counted twice or they've been accidently dropped, and they weren't accounted in the county totals. Missouri has generally good procedures there in making sure all the votes are counted for. And that's a security measure as well.


With an increased number of Missourians expected to turn out at the polling places, voters should come prepared knowing who they want to vote for to avoid causing long lines and confusion.

Reporting from Jefferson City, I'm Rebecca Layne ... KSMU.