County’s Presidential Preference Primary turnout barely hits 20 percent; Trump, Biden top candidates

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 3/18/20

HERMANN — Just over 20 percent of Gasconade County’s registered voters turned out last Tuesday to cast a ballot in the Presidential Primary. The unofficial turnout was put at 20.66 …

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County’s Presidential Preference Primary turnout barely hits 20 percent; Trump, Biden top candidates

Posted

HERMANN — Just over 20 percent of Gasconade County’s registered voters turned out last Tuesday to cast a ballot in the Presidential Primary. The unofficial turnout was put at 20.66 percent, which is just slightly better than the 20-percent projection by County Clerk Lesa Lietzow, the chief elections official.

Turnout at the 18 precincts, which include the absentee ballots that were cast, ranged from about 16 percent to 22 percent, the clerk said. A total of 2,160 votes were cast across all five parties holding a primary. For this election, there were 10,453 registered voters.

In the Republican primary, President Donald J. Trump received 1,230 votes with four other candidates receiving votes — Bob Ely with 3, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld receiving 4, Joe Walsh garnering 5 and Matthew John Matern receiving 1 vote. Uncommitted received 10 votes.

Among Democrat voters, former Vice President Joe Biden was the clear favorite, receiving 565 votes of the 902 ballots cast to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 276 votes. All other major candidates in the Democrat Party no longer were in the race but still on the ballot because they dropped out after the ballots were printed.

Those receiving votes were Amy Klobuchar with 3, Tom Steyer with 1, Tulsi Gabbard with 10, Leonard J. Steinman II with 2, Cory Booker with 2, Elizabeth Warren with 14, Pete Buttigieg with 5, Andrew Yang with 3, John K. Delaney with 1, Marianne Williamson with 1, Michael Bennet with 1, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with 13 and Uncommitted with 5.

In the Libertarian Party, lone candidate Jason Hornberger received 1 vote.

In the Green Party, Howie Hawkins received 1 vote while David Rolde received 2 and Dario Hunter received no votes. None of the three candidates on the Constitution Party ballot received a vote.

Based on exit polls conducted during the day, major news organizations projected Biden the winner of Missouri long before even half the ballots had been delivered to the County Clerk’s Office from the various precincts.

Lietzow Thursday morning told the County Commission that election day went smoothly at the precincts, despite a last-minute rush to find election judges to replace late scratches of more-experienced poll workers. “It went really well,” the clerk said.

The clerk’s staff will continue their efforts to build a roster of election judges for three remaining elections this year — the April General Municipal Election, the August Primary Elections and the November General Elections.

“That’s the number-one problem facing elections officials — finding poll workers,” Lietzow told the County Commission. If the problem continues, she noted, it could increase support to the notion of mail-in elections.

Slight delay opening in

Ward 2 Owensville

Lietzow reported a 24-minute delay in opening the Ward 2 voting precinct at Owensville’s Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

“I want to apologize to the poll workers there,” said Lietzow who went on to explain there was problem obtaining the building’s key from the priest the night before.

An election judge had to awaken the priest to gain access, she said.   

The first ballot was cast at 6:24 a.m., she said. At least three potential voters were in line before voting could take place.

Topping the turnout list were voters in the Boulware precinct as Bay and Mt. Sterling area residents posted a 27.8 percent rate. Voting in Owensville’s Ward 2 was 22.7 percent while Ward 1 voters recorded a 16.9 percent turnout.

“It was as expected,” said Lietzow. “It should be better but it’s the best we can be hopeful for.”

Voters in the Swiss, Little Berger,  and Stolpe precincts in the northern portion of the county will not have ballots to cast in the April 7 Municipal Election since those rural areas in the Gasconade County R-1 School District (Hermann) will not have a school board election.

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