Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct how long it has been since an election was hosted for the Pettis County Health Center Board of Trustees.
With nearly 3% of Pettis County voters already casting a ballot, Pettis County Clerk Nick La Strada is expecting a record-high turnout for the April 6 municipal election.
For Tuesday’s election, La Strada is predicting that 20% to 22% of registered Pettis County voters will vote. During an average municipal election, La Strada said there is a 10% to 15% registered voter turnout. With the high level of absentee voting, he said that typically indicates a higher Election Day turnout.
So far, he said absentee turnout has surpassed the absentee turnout for every municipal election since 2000. After a slow first few weeks, his office is now averaging 35 to 40 voters per day.
“It’s awesome, it’s been great. People are coming up, asking good questions,” La Strada said. “It’s great to see this much engagement in a local election. This is what we preach to our constituents — our local elections are just as important as our state and federal elections.”
According to La Strada, this marks the first contested election for the Pettis County Health Center Board of Trustees in 15 years, and with 10 candidates competing for three seats. Between that race, the Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education, two Pettis County Ambulance District Board of Directors races, and a host of area municipalities with contested races and ballot issues, there is a long list of items to vote on Tuesday.
After record highs in the August and November elections last year, La Strada said he’s hoping for another record next week.
“November was the highest we ever had in Pettis County history for a presidential election,” he said. “It would be really neat to be part of a local election hitting over 25% if that happens. There are a lot of issues and I think people are adamant on both sides. After 2020, people are worn out but people are getting engaged. It makes me feel good that in Pettis County they believe in our election process. We run fair, free elections and that’s what our office does.”
La Strada said one of the most frequent questions he has heard this election cycle is regarding who is eligible to vote for the Sedalia 200 school board. Only voters who live in the Sedalia 200 taxing district will see that race on their ballot. He explained it is no different than people being eligible to vote for certain state representatives or different PCAD sub-districts.
He also noted that in races where multiple candidates can be selected, voters can opt to choose fewer candidates. For example, the Sedalia 200 race has three candidates, Sam Kempton, Matthew Herren and Michelle Quattlebaum, competing for two seats. Voters can choose one or two candidates on their ballot.
Absentee voting is available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 3 at the Pettis County Courthouse. The last day to absentee vote is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, April 5.
Polls will be open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day. Voters can find their polling location, check to see if they are registered, and view a sample ballot at pettisclerk.com. For more information, visit pettisclerk.com or facebook.com/PettisCountyElectionsOffice or call the Clerk’s office at 660-826-5000 ext. 918 or La Strada’s cellphone at 660-281-7767.