JASPER COUNTY, Mo. – Many people are voting early this year, so much so, it’s breaking local records.
Melodee Colbert-Kean is no stranger to politics, having served on the Joplin council. So for her, exercising her right to vote is important. This year, she decided to vote early. “I wanted to get in because I had a fear that there’s going to be a lot of lines come Tuesday and, plus, I’m going to be busy taking people around to the polls, so I’m not even going to be available that day.”
With COVID concerns, she encourages others to vote early. “If you don’t the large crowds and you don’t want to be standing in line close to people, then go ahead and do it now and that little, they have the reasons on there for you to choose, and you can pick one of those and fill out your ballot, get it done.”
Jasper County Clerk Charlie Davis says just the early voter turnout is breaking records. “In 2016 we had 4,187 absentee ballots cast, that is in-person and mail-in, so far this year, the in-person and the mail-in we have 8,018, so we will have way more than double the number of absentee votes.”
Davis says in the 2016 election, turnout was about 53%, he’s expecting this year’s turn out to be 65%. Davis says in terms of determining how the county will vote, there’s some historical reference. “Historically, the last time Jasper County elected a Democratic president it was Lyndon Banes Johnson, it was back over a generation ago, that was the generation I was born, so if you look at tradition, it pretty traditionally picks a Republican president, but, you never know, things are a little bit odd this year.”
According to the Kansas Secretary of State, they’re predicting voter turnout to be around 70% compared to 67% in the 2016 general election.