Pettis County Clerk Nick La Strada is expecting an enormous turnout for the Nov. 3 General Election.
The presidential election has been heated all year, getting more Americans than usual engaged in the process. La Strada told the Democrat more than 20% of registered voters in Pettis County have already voted as of Friday afternoon, and he expects that to increase to nearly 25% by the time absentee voting ends at 5 p.m. Monday. On Friday alone, more than 400 people voted at the Pettis County Courthouse, he said.
In the last presidential election in 2016, La Strada said only 10% of voters cast a ballot prior to Election Day.
With that in mind, La Strada is predicting 80% to 85% of registered voters will end up casting a ballot in the General Election.
“No matter what, it’s going to be the biggest presidential turnout in Pettis County history,” La Strada said. “We’ve already shattered every single absentee voting record. … It’s just unbelievable.”
In-person absentee voting continues from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. Ballots can also be placed in the dropbox on the courthouse lawn. Voters must visit their polling place on Election Day.
For those voters with concerns about COVID-19, La Strada recommends they absentee vote at the courthouse in the next two days, as citizens will be allowed to vote on a first-come, first-served basis on Tuesday. Poll workers will be required to wear a mask or face shield and voters are encouraged to also wear a mask.
“I don’t want to disenfranchise anyone, so I encourage everyone to vote here (at the courthouse) absentee because of this virus,” La Strada said. “It’s no different than Election Day, your ballot will go right in the tabulator like Election Day.”
La Strada also reminded voters that no electioneering is allowed within 25 feet of a polling location. Voters wearing clothing or anything representing a candidate will not be allowed inside.
Despite the record-high numbers of voters visiting his office over the last six weeks, La Strada said things have been going “very smoothly.”
“We want everyone to come out and let their voice be heard,” he said.
Only one county race — Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond, a Republican, against challenger Brad Anders, an Independent — will be on the ballot. Voters in Districts 48, 51 and 54 will vote for their state representatives. District 52 state Rep. Brad Pollitt is also on the ballot but he is unopposed.
The ballot also includes statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general, plus District 4 U.S. Representative and, of course, President of the United States.
Voters will also consider Amendment 1 and Amendment 3.
La Strada said voters need to bring a form of identification and encouraged them to bring either a photo ID or the voter registration card they received in the mail.
Polls will be open from 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.