If early voting is any indication, turnout in Logan County for the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election will be heavy.
As of 11 a.m Monday, Logan County Clerk Peggy Fitzjurls said 1,512 people had cast ballots early. Early voting will continue through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the County Clerk’s offices in courthouses in Paris and Booneville, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7. Voting on Tuesday, Nov. 8, election day, will be from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. at normal polling places.
Early voting opened on Monday, Oct. 24. Fitzjurls said employees were greeted with a line of people wanting to vote early as soon as they opened the doors.
“We don’t normally see lines until later in early voting,” she said. “We saw lines the first day. At 8 a.m. Monday, the first day, there was a line of people wanting to vote.
Fitzjurls said early voting so far argues for a heavy turnout.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t get to 45 percent turnout,” she said. “Normally, we’ll turn out 30 percent to 35 percent in a presidential election year. At the rate early voting is going, I think 45 percent turnout is a real possibility.”
The level of early voting has climbed each election year, especially if a race for president is on the ballot. In 2004, 1,959 voters cast ballots early. In 2008, 2,569 voters cast early ballots. In 20012, 2,491 people voted early.
And, the pace of early voting increases in the last week, Fitjurls said.
“Early voting is always heavy in the second week,” Fitzjurls said. “I expect that’s going to be the case again this year.”
As for election day, Fitzjurls said everything is “almost ready” and didn’t anticipate any problems.
In addition to the well publicized presidential race, primarily between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton there is also U.S. Senate race between Democrat Conner Eldridge, Republican Sen. John Boozman and Libertarian write in Frank Gilbert and the Fourth Congressional District Representative race between Republican Congressman Bruce Westerman and Libertarian Kerry Hicks.
In state matters, the ballot features seven amendments, three of which — one dealing with medical marijuana and others dealing with casinos and capping medical awards — have been stricken and will neither be counted, nor certified, per State Supreme Court order.
The remaining referred amendment seeks legalizing marijuana.
One of the legislative referred Constitutional amendments concerns terms, election and eligibility of elected officials; the second allows the governor to retain his or her power when out of the state; and a third concerns job creation, job expansion and economic development.
Logan County has a race for the Clerk’s office, its first such race in at least two decades, between Republican Tom Bruce and incumbent Peggy Fitzjurls.
Justice of the Peace Districts 3, 6, 7, and 9 are also contested with Republican Aaron Chastain taking on incumbent Democrat Michael B Schluterman in District 3; Independent incumbent Debbie Anhalt facing Republican Charles Pearson in District 6; Independent incumbent Bob Krepps facing Republican George Widener in District 7; and Independent Gerald Hodgson facing incumbent Democrat Eddie Finney in District 9.
There are also three contested alderman races in Booneville and one each in Magazine and Blue Mountain, as well as constable races in Six Mile and Barber townships.
In Booneville the alderman races are between Aaron L. Brewer and incumbent Guy A. Robson in Ward 1, Position 1; incumbent Larry Dean Mitchell, II and Robert Smith in Ward 2, Position 1; and Myron W. Siddons and incumbent Bradley Smith in Ward 2, Position 2. In Magazine incumbent John D. Roberts is opposed by Gay Preston in Ward 3, Position 1. In Blue Mountain Elaine Lippard faces incumbent Larry Mollett for Position 2.