Clerk anticipates record registration

Local authorities scramble to register new voters while officials attempt to institute reforms as the election is fast approaching
Wednesday, October 6, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:41 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren expects the number of new registered voters in the county to reach an all-time high today, the deadline for voter registration.

Noren said Tuesday that her office has processed close to 17,000 new voter registration applications this year. She said the highest number of new voters registered in 1992, when 18,380 names were added to the voting rolls.

“Based on what we have yet to process, I anticipate we will break that record,” Noren said.

Most of the applications have been mailed in – Noren said her office has received more than 10,000 so far. Other applications come from voters who register when they get their driver’s licenses.

Sara Howard, communications director for Missouri’s America Coming Together, said the increase in voter applications shows how much people care about this year’s presidential election.

“People are really paying attention to this election year, and they want to have a voice in the direction this country is going,” she said.

The grass-roots organization has been registering voters in Columbia for a few months, Howard said. Staff have collected registrations at public places such as the MU campus, as well as going door to door.

America Coming Together has submitted more than 100,000 voter registration cards statewide, including several thousand in Boone County, Howard said. The organization is also registering and educating voters in other battleground states such as Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Noren said she has gone to local high schools to educate young first-time voters about how polling places work so they know what to expect. Poll workers have also been trained on how to handle new voters in November.

“Obviously, when you have a bigger turnout, you have bigger problems,” Noren said.

But new voters are not the biggest problem facing the county clerk. Voters who have moved and not changed their addresses with the clerk’s office create the biggest problems on Election Day by reporting to the wrong polling place, Noren said.

“After this deadline, we want to focus on those voters,” she said.

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