New voter registration trends

The average age of Adair County voters is slowly decreasing as citizens of all ages have registered to vote in the upcoming election.

The average age of voters in Adair County is around 50, but that average is changing with more people registering to vote.

“We have had some newly registered voters that have showed up to vote for the first time, and they are in their 60s and 80s,” Deputy County Clerk Tammy Miller said. “It is not just necessarily the younger generation, but a lot of people that have not participated in voting before are starting to come out and vote more.”

Younger voters are coming out, but they are still lacking in substantial numbers to disrupt current voting trends. Miller said a fair amount of voter registration for young people in Adair County comes from Truman State University. Only a small percentage of those registered actually cast ballots.

In past elections, Adair County has typically voted for Republican candidates. However, because many vote for the candidate over strict party affiliation, a few Democratic candidates have secured positions in office over the years.

Overall voter turnout in Adair County depends on what type of election is happening and how significant the issues, propositions and amendments on the ballot are to residents. If there are no heated races and not a lot of issues, voter turnout will be lower, Miller said. Turnout is always higher for presidential elections. She said for those, there is a bigger drive to get people involved in voting, and some people only vote in presidential elections.

Compared to other Missouri counties, Adair typically has moderate or average voter participation. Because each county has different local issues, participation always varies, because the content on each ballot draws out a varying amount of people.

Adair County residents face the barrier of living in a rural area. Rural polling locations can be a long drive for some, Miller said. Some polling locations in rural areas do not have the necessary accessibility for disabled voters.

There are numerous issues on the ballot for the 2018 general election. Miller said many of the propositions and amendments require extensive reading, so the voting process might be slowed down depending on whether people have researched the information presented on the ballot.

“The lines could back up, but it’s not because we are processing so many more voters or because the process time is so much longer,” Miller said. “We have to wait until somebody gets done voting for you to have a booth to vote at.”

Miller said the more educated people are on the ballot issues, the faster the voting process will be.

Miller said she believes voter turnout for the upcoming general election will be high.

“I think it will be a very good turnout,” Miller said. “We do have a few heated races at the state level, but the biggest draw is going to be the amendments and propositions.”

In recent years, political messages and controversy have been spread instantly with social media. It might not affect participation, but social media can act as a reminder for active voters, Miller said. Social media most likely won’t create a significant impact on the number of voters, she said.

Because of constant, widespread media coverage, political controversy can influence uninvolved citizens to vote, Miller said. People can discover the opinions of candidates and be inspired to oppose or support those candidates. She said controversy can also cause even committed voters to stay home.