BENTON -- The delegates from Missouri and 23 other states are up for grabs Feb. 5 when voters cast their ballot in the presidential primary.
The national attention the presidential races are garnering appears to be generating interest among Republican and Democratic voters in Southeast Missouri, as well. The county clerks in Scott, Mississippi and New Madrid counties all report more absentee ballots have been requested than in 2004's presidential primary.
In Scott County, 150 requests were made by Thursday for absentee ballots. According to County Clerk Rita Milam there were only 55 requests for absentee ballots in the 2004 Super Tuesday. By Thursday, 32 New Madrid County residents had requested an absentee ballot to vote on their choice for president. "That's not many but it is twice as many as in 2004. In 2004 there were only 15 absentee ballots total cast," said County Clerk Clement Cravens.
Mississippi County Junior Delay said while his office has sent out a few absentee ballots, he said they will be much busier before the August primary when county and state primary is slated. Delay said he has seen a little more interest in Super Tuesday but added many voters are not aware Missouri is among the 24 states included in this presidential primary voting day. The county clerk noted this is only the second time Missourians have voted at a primary in February.
The three area county clerks agreed, the national media attention on the presidential campaign has heightened local interest.
With 24 states taking part in this year's Super Tuesday more delegates will be selected for their parties' national convention than on any other day. The delegates will officially select the party candidate at the conventions slated for this summer.
Those wishing to cast an absentee ballot can do so at their county clerk's office during office hours through Feb. 4 while absentee ballots can be mailed out upon request to voters through Jan. 30. All county clerk's offices will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Feb. 2 for absentee balloting. Polls will be open on Feb. 5 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.