Early voting down in county

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

From Staff Reports

The number of Marshall County residents voting early and absentee in Tuesday's election was down from voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election.

In 2008, there were 6,154 county voters casting early and absentee ballots, County Elections Administrator Tristan Arnold said Tuesday. That level of participation by early and absentee voters dropped by 377 to 5,777.

That's a decline of 6.12 percent.

"If Marshall County follows the same voting patterns in the past - that is fewer people vote on election day than who vote early - then we're going to have a lower turnout than we anticipated," Arnold said.

"It is (disappointing,)" Arnold said. "As for why; I don't have an answer to that."

In 2008, there were 11,367 voters casting ballots in the November elections, a total that is 78 votes greater than the number of people who voted for a presidential candidate. In other words, 78 people didn't vote in the presidential election.

Most of the election office work conducted during normal business hours on Election Day was because of people who only vote in presidential elections, Arnold said.

"They are not sure which precinct to go to," she said. "That's the majority of our wok today."

Some county voters had to use provisional ballots. They are paper ballots to provide a way for the voter to cast their ballot and, depending on circumstances, return with, for example, a state-issued photo identification card.

"Most provisional ballots have been by people who believe they registered through the Department of Safety" when they got or renewed a drivers license, Arnold said.

That system of voter registration came about with the Motor Voter Law.

Under that situation, when a provisional ballot is used, Arnold said, "Documentation has not been transmitted to our office, for some reason. A background check on the Department of Safety records will be conducted."

On Election Day, there were some lines at Marshall County polls, she said, repeating another request to the voting public: "If you are new to the county, or if you've moved within the county, we want you to tell us and update your voter registration information."