Cooper County boasted a 72 percent voter turnout on Tuesday for the local and national election. Polls were steady even though drizzle attempted to dampen the day.
With over 10,000 registered voters, more than 7,000 voted, marking a decent turnout. There were 603 absentee ballots casted as well, which was two more than in 2008. Four volunteers counted absentee ballets throughout the day on Tuesday.
After the polls closed at seven in the evening, complete results were not known until nine that night when the ballots were completely counted for the county. Cooper County Clerk Darryl Kempf said that the process of counting is not that difficult but requires taking the memory banks out of each machine around the county and bringing and plugging them into a computer system at the courthouse. Counts from Otterville, the furthest town within the county away from Boonville, usually get their results delivered within an hour after the polls have closed.
Kempf was very thrilled about the turnout even though turnout was five percentage points lower than in 2008. Kempf also said that he thought there was not as quite the amount of enthusiasm as there was in 2008. Kempf said his office was inundated with people wanting to know where their polling place was located and wanting information changing their addresses so they could vote in future elections. Kempf said that some people chose not to vote because of some of the negative ads attacking each opponent.
"I do want to compliment the election judges since they did a fantastic job. We did not have any lines which made it easier for individuals to vote," Kempf said.
According to the results, Cooper County voted primarily for Republican candidates, giving Mitt Romney the counties choiçe for President even though nationally Barack Obama narrowly defeated Romney. In one of the closest race in the county, Republican Todd Aiken won by less than three percentage points for United States Senate over Democrat Claire McCaskill. McCaskill won the senate seat when the entire state was counted. In the governor race, Republican Dave Spence won Cooper County over current governor Jay Nixon by five percentage points. Nixon remains governor after receiving a majority of Missouri.
On the ballot for residents of the City of Boonville was the matter of a one-half cent sales tax increase. This tax increase will primarily be used to sustain and make required improvements to Boonville's waste water facility. The sales tax passed by a narrow margin with 1,498 voting yes and 1,419 voting no.
"We realize it is a tough economy and no one wants to pay more," Tessendorf said.
Tessendorf also said he appreciated the consideration of the one-half cent sales tax.
"We have already started with the planning and engineering. We are currently awaiting DNR (Department of Natural Resources) feedback on a couple of issues. Given the confidence shown, we will treat the funds and projects responsibly," Tessendorf said.
Page 2 of 2 - The one-half cent sales tax will also provide funds once the waste water facility is funded for such projects as the revitalization of the Kemper Campus and for park improvements.
In further local elections, all local offices have remained unchanged including the Eastern and Western District Cooper County Commissioners, sheriff, assessor, public administrator, corner and circuit court judge of which all ran unopposed.
Among other issues on the ballot were the races of the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives. Republican Kurt Schaefer will remain in his 19th District Missouri Senate seat. He defeated Democrat Mary Still by capturing over 72 percent of the county vote. Republican candidate Mitch Richards defeated Democrat John Wright with 60 percent of the county vote. Republican Dave Muntzel defeated Democrat Ron Monnig with almost 70 percent of the county vote. Republican Caleb Jones ran unopposed and of course will serve citizens of Cooper County for another term.
In an upset vote in Howard County, current Democratic Sheriff Charlie Polson lost by a narrow margin to Independent candidate Mike Neal.
For complete counts from Cooper County please see the chart on page 3.