Archive for Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Advance voting sets pace for large turnout

County clerk expects at least 40 percent of voters will cast ballots

April 5, 2005

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More than 1,500 people had cast advance ballots in Douglas County by Monday's noon deadline, a sign that turnout in today's general election could exceed that of two years ago.

More advance mail ballots are expected to arrive in today's mail, Deputy County Clerk Marni Penrod said.

"The number will increase," she said.

With most voters headed to the polls today, the Douglas County Clerk's Office had received 539 advance mail ballots by noon Monday. An additional 970 people voted in person at the courthouse before the deadline.

Voters must go to their designated polling site today if they want to participate in the general election.

There they will choose among candidates for the Lawrence school board and City Commission. They also will face ballot questions ranging from Lawrence public school improvements to township road paving. A statewide ballot question proposing a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is expected to boost turnout across Kansas.

The number of Douglas County advance ballots this election closely mirrors advance voting from the 2003 city and school board general election. In 2003, 1,675 voters cast advance ballots. The 2003 election had a 33 percent turnout among registered voters.

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew predicted 40 percent to 50 percent of the 66,926 registered voters in Douglas County would participate.

He said interest was high because of the marriage amendment and the school bond issues.









A series of checks and balances have been put in place to ensure the vote counting is orderly this election, Shew said.

In the 2003 general election, more than 7,000 ballots were tallied twice, affecting the outcome of the Lawrence City Commission race. City Commission candidate Lynn Goodell lost enough ground from the recount to let David Schauner climb into third place and a two-year commission term.

Election workers will review election book sign-in numbers as they count votes from each precinct, Shew said.

"That way if there's something off we'll see it right away," Shew said.

The county clerk's office also will post unofficial election results online tonight. Internet users can access the results by going to www.douglas-county.com/clerk/electionresults_office.asp.

Users will be able to view results by cumulative totals and individual precincts for each race and question. The results will be updated throughout the evening.

"I am excited about the possibility of providing online election night results," Shew said. "My goal is to continue to improve the Election Day process to provide better service and information for the voters."

All results reported tonight are unofficial and will be confirmed by the Board of Canvassers at 9 a.m. Friday in the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.

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