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St. Charles County Election official expects heavy voter turnout, absentee voting in November

Even through the general election is still more than six weeks away, St. Charles County’s lead election official expects a heavy voter turnout, possibly approaching a record.

“We are getting very, very high participation,” said Rich Chrismer, the county’s election authority director.  Chrismer said Sept. 19 that he is expecting 83 percent to 87 percent turnout with more than 284,000 registered voters on the Nov. 8 general election.

Chrismer said the county has been planning for this election since 2015. “We’re ready for them [voters],” he said.

The county has the second highest number of registered voters in the state – behind St. Louis County, he said.  “In 2004, our county had the largest turnout for our size of county in the entire country and that was a 93 percent turnout,” Chrismer said.  “We’re looking at almost a record nationally and larger participation in our county than most other counties in the country.”

Since 2004, the number of registered voters in the county has been on the rise with the county’s population.  In 2004, the county had 220,355 registered voters.  The registered voter total was 268,995 in the August primary.

The lengthy general election ballot features the presidential race, as well as a contested races for  U.S. senate and other state offices such as lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and treasurer.  The ballot includes other congressional and state legislative races and St. Charles County Council.  State constitutional amendments as well as tax increase proposals for senior services, the Francis Howell School district and fire protection districts also are on the ballot.

Chrismer said through Sept. 19 the county has had about 2,000 requests for mail-in absentee ballots and possibly another 1,300 absentee ballots from disabled voters.

For this election, he said the county is looking at about 26,000 absentee ballots, of which 24,000 will be cast by voters who come to the county’s election authority office at 397 Turner Boulevard in St. Peters.  He said controversy over absentee ballots in the city of St. Louis may have prompted earlier requests from county residents.

Absentee voting actually begins on Sept. 27, six weeks before the election as specified by state law. An application for an absentee ballot can be found on the authority’s web site at www.sccmo.org

Requests for mail-in absentee ballots have to be made by 5 p.m. the Wednesday before the election.  The deadline for voting absentee in person at the county’s election authority office is 5 p.m. the day before election day.

Chrismer said he expects as many as a thousand absentee votes a day during the four weeks before the election. Absentee voting at the authority’s is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The county’s office will be closed on Monday, Oct. 10 for Columbus Day.  The office will also be open for voting from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 and on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Meanwhile, St. Charles County residents who want to register to vote in the Nov. 8 general election have until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Residents can register from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the St. Charles County Election Authority’s office at 397 Turner Boulevard in St. Peters, except on Oct. 10 when the office is closed.

Residents also can register at Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles and Division of Family Services offices. County residents can also register to vote on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.mo.gov.

A completed Missouri Voter Registration Application form, available on the Election Authority website at www.sccmo.org, can be mailed or hand delivered to the Election Authority office.

For more information about registering to vote, the authority can be contacted at 636-949-7550.

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