Missouri voter turnout forecast as highest in decades

By The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri election officials are predicting the state's largest voter turnout in decades.

A poll worker on the Independence Square tells a couple of drive-through voters that their ballots got properly cast Tuesday morning. The Jackson County Election Board hosted drive-through voting for those who recently tested positive or have to quarantine for COVID-19 and couldn’t stand at polling places Tuesday.

Local election jurisdictions are expecting more than 3.2 million people to cast ballots in Tuesday's general election, according to figures provided by the secretary of state's office. That would amount to 75% of the state's 4.3 million registered voters.

If the predictions come true, that would be Missouri's highest turnout rate since 1992, when 78% of registered voters cast ballots in a presidential election won by Democrat Bill Clinton.

Voters in Independence wait outside the Midwest Genealogy Center mid-morning Tuesday to fill out and cast their ballots.

The number of registered voters has grown considerably since then. The greatest total number of ballots cast in Missouri was 2.9 million in the 2008 election, when Democrat Barack Obama was elected to president.

As of Sunday, about 828,000 Missouri voters already had returned absentee or mail-in ballots. That's nearly three times as many absentee ballots as were counted in the last presidential election. State officials relaxed absentee voting requirements and created a special mail-in ballot option this year because of concerns about the coronavirus.