A report from last week indicates that absentee voting numbers are down in St. Louis ahead of this year’s elections. The Missouri Times notes that the number of people who have submitted in absentee ballot lags behind the pace from 2012:
Mary Wheeler-Jones, the Democratic director for the St. Louis City Election Board of Commissioners, said the city has experienced a decline in absentee voting though time will tell.
St. Louis City had 13,799 absentee ballots cast before Election Day in 2012, roughly 7,000 of those being walk-ins and almost another 7,000. So far this year, Jones said only about 1,900 walk-in absentee votes have been cast with 5,600 absentee ballots being sent out for mail-in votes. Even assuming every absentee ballot sent gets mailed back, another 6,500 St. Louis City residents would have to vote as in-person absentee over the next 11 days to reach 2012 levels of absentee voting.
Jones said that the election board was experiencing the beginning of a surge in turnout, but she was unsure if that meant they would reach 2012 levels.
“I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but it would have to be a lot of people that would have to walk in,” she said.
St. Louis has had its share of voting problems this year. In April, residents in more than 60 precincts were unable to vote because their locations ran out of ballots, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Voting is an important responsibility and part of the civic duty of every Missourian. Citizens need to turn out and let their voice be heard in choosing their elected representatives.