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Higher Voter Turnout Expected In Newton County Compared to Jaspe - KOAM TV 7

Higher Voter Turnout Expected In Newton County Compared to Jasper County

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Many poll workers are counting down the hours to what's expected to be a busy election day tomorrow.  The Jasper County and Newton County clerks say they've been working almost nonstop to make sure the day goes smoothly.

But technically, voting has already begun, through absentee ballots.  Those ballots are giving some indications of what can be expected tomorrow.

Shirley Rich is voting early, partly because of needing to spend time on election day with her husband.

"My husband is housebound," says Rich.

Rich also wants to avoid any possible mess, a hodgepodge of politics intertwined with polling problems.

"Every channel you turn on, 'this is going to happen,' or 'that is going to happen,' and it scares people," says Rich.

Newton County Clerk Kay Baum says never say problems won't ever happen.  But...

Baum says, "I hope not!"

Baum took a deep breath before what she just said, because for several weeks now, she has been making sure voter machines have been working for all of Newton County's 23 polling stations.  

"The main thing will be people who have changed their address.  They've moved since four years ago, and they'll go to the wrong polling place," says Baum.

Baum has also been studying the numbers, and expects a 67% voter turnout on election day.  It's based off absentee voting, about 2,400 of those ballots so far.

"They're about exactly the same as it was in 2012," says Baum.

Jasper County's clerk is expecting a 60% voter turnout, 7% less than Newton County, because the Jasper County clerk is noticing a steady decline of absentee voting.  There have been about 3,800 absentee ballots so far, compared o 4,800 in 2012, and 7,000 in 2008.  The Jasper County clerk is still asking people to be patient on election day, and suggesting voters visit the less-busy times at the polls during mid-day.

It may seem like a hassle to wait, and of course there's that worry that something may not go smoothly while voting.  All Shirley Rich has to do, though, is think of her husband.

"He was in Korea and Vietnam.  He's a national hero.  I'm standing up for him, too," says Rich.

Democracy is worth any inconvenience.

County clerks say people with a problem, like needing a change of address on their voter registration, can still be helped tomorrow.  But it could take some time and patience.

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