Early and absentee voting running ahead of 2008 in county
By: Michael R. Smith
If you’re planning to vote early or by absentee ballot this year in St. Charles County you might want to do it now. Rich Chrismer, director of the St. Charles County Election Authority, says that significantly more people are voting early this year — either in person or by absentee ballot — compared to the same period in 2008.
“People really want to vote this year,” Chrismer told MRN. “It’s incredible.”
The national election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, is now less than five weeks away.
Chrismer said on Thursday, Oct. 4, that he’s sent out about 400 requested military ballots.
”That’s three times as many as in any previous years.” In addition to the military ballots he says he’s mailed approximately another 3,200 absentee voting cards.
In 2008 he saw a total of 28,000 absentee ballots. This year, he’s “expecting well over 30,000.”
So far, Chrismer says the election office has also served about 800 walk-in voters — people who come to the headquarters to vote because they won’t be able to at their normal polling areas in November. That number, he says, compares to 500 walk-in voters four years ago at same period.
That number of walk-in voters will jump significantly shortly. Chrismer said, that in 2008 during the last two weeks before Election Tuesday an average of 2,500 voters a day stopped by the county election offices to cast ballots.
To prepare for that increase he’s planning to keep the headquarters open more hours this year. Residents can now vote at the headquarters during its normal business hours — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. By law the offices must be open the Saturday before Election Tuesday. However, because of the anticipated demand Chrismer has committed to be open each of the last three Saturdays – from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., Oct. 20, Oct. 27, and Nov. 3.
The election authority is located near I-70 and Hwy. 79 at 397 Turner Boulevard in St. Peters. The last day to pick up an absentee ballot there is Monday, Nov. 5 during normal business hours.
More information on how to request absentee and military ballots can be found on the election authority’s Web site at www.election.sccmo.org.