Tuesday's weather forecast was not music to Patty Jaimes' ears.
The Douglas County clerk winced as she heard that the forecast calls for cloudy skies and a 30 percent chance rain or snow on Election Day. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
"Well, shoot, I hate to hear that," Jaimes said. "I think we would have had 80 to 83 percent turnout if the weather had been better."
But the voting outlook isn't all gloomy, she said.
"Another angle may be the Kids Voting program," she said. "The kids will be so excited that they may get their parents out."
Jaimes was referring to the program in 10 Lawrence elementary schools, all three junior highs and Lawrence High School in which students will get to vote at the polls with their parents. While the students' votes will not count in the official totals, volunteers will be on hand to tabulate the results.
The program already has prompted some parents in Lawrence to register to vote, some for the first time.
Kids Voting was not the only reason people registered to vote in record numbers this year. Officials also speculated that interest in the presidential election helped swell registration numbers to a record 49,628 in the county.
But Jaimes thinks that Kids Voting will help keep the turnout high despite the weather, probably near the 80 percent mark.
Should the turnout hit 80.6 percent, it would mean that 40,000 voters cast ballots in the election. The voter turnout was 80.5 percent in 1988, the last presidential election year.
Jaimes said preparations for the election were running smoothly today. She said her office had handled 2,000 applications for absentee ballots, also a record. In addition, all the poll workers slots are filled, and extra ballots were on hand to accommodate the record voter registration.
The setting up of polling places in Douglas County's 51 precincts would be completed today, she said.