Local election officials say this election could bring record turnout

Early and absentee voting brings in high numbers.
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JASPER COUNTY, Mo., CRAWFORD COUNTY, Kan. – We’re a week away from election day and thousands of voters have already cast their ballots in Southeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri.

In Jasper County, absentee voting is currently happening. Jasper County Clerk Charlie Davis says more than 4400 residents have voted absentee in-person, and more than 3400 have voted by mail. He expects the total turnout for the election to exceed what was seen during the 2016 presidential election when 48,414 Jasper County residents voted.

Voters in Missouri have three options for early voting. They can vote absentee in-person until November 2nd at 5 p.m. They must give a reason for voting absentee, but aren’t required to pre-register if voting in-person. To vote absentee by mail, voters had to register by October 21st. Those ballots, other than under specific circumstances, must be notarized. They must be returned to the clerk’s office by no later than 7 p.m. on November 3rd. The third option is to vote by mail. To do so, residents had to register by no later than October 21st. The ballots must be notarized and returned by U.S. Mail. They have to get back to the clerk’s office by November 3rd at 7 p.m.. (More information can be found at the end of this story.)

Over in Crawford County, County Clerk Don Pyle says they’ve had a lot of early voting by mail. The clerk’s office has received a little more than 3700 mail-in ballots, a little more than half of the 6000 sent out to voters. They’ve also seen a little more than 500 voters cast their ballots during the in-person early voting period. He says, if election day turnout is around what was seen in 2016, they’ll exceed those numbers as well. 14,891 Crawford County residents voted during the 2016 general election.

Voters in Crawford County also have some options when it comes to voting early. The deadline for requesting an advanced ballot by mail is October 27th. Those can be returned to two different locations in the county;  the Crawford County Judicial Center in Pittsburg and the Crawford County Courthouse in Girard. They can also vote early in-person. Currently, the only location for in-person early voting is at the county clerk’s office, but on October 30th, locations at The Homer Cole Center in Pittsburg and a location at the Meadowbrook Mall will open. Those locations will be open on the 30th and the 31st. Early voting at the county clerk’s office will end on November 2nd at noon. Voters do not have to give a reason for voting early. (More information can be found at the end of this story.)

Both Davis and Pyle have hired additional staff to process early and mail-in ballots.