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Voters advised to double check polling place before heading out

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 5, 2012 - Message to would-be voters preparing to head out to the polls on Tuesday: Read closely the postcard you received from local election authorities telling you where your polling place is located.

It very well may have changed. And if you vote in the wrong polling place, your vote won’t count.

Tuesday marks the first general election in Missouri since new boundary lines were put in place for congressional, legislative and local districts. These new districts reflect population shifts recorded in the 2010 census.

Some voters will find they now reside in a different congressional district. Some in St. Louis and St. Charles counties will find that they’re in a different County Council district. Their counterparts in St. Louis may find that their wards have changed.

Such shifts may result in changes in voters’ polling places. 

In Missouri, all polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Anyone in  line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote. In St. Louis County, authorities suggest that “voters can avoid long lines by voting after 9 a.m. and prior to 4 p.m.”

On Monday, all election authorities will accept absentee ballots from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has projected that 72 percent of the state's registered voters may cast ballots by Tuesday for president of the United States, U.S. senator from Missouri, Missouri governor, as well as new members of Congress, the Missouri General Assembly, and other state and local offices.

If so, Missouri's voting percentage would be higher than in 2008. But some activists in both parties predict that, based on absentee ballots cast so far, this year's final tally will be slightly lower.

In St. Louis County, for example, more than 80 percent of the registered voters cast ballots in 2008, said Democratic elections director Rita Days. This year, she projects a county turnout in the mid-70 percent range.

Voters are required to show identification, but a photo ID is not required. The lists of acceptable identification in Missouri include:

  • A drivers license;
  • Passport, military ID, federal, state or local government-employee ID;
  • Social Security card
  • ID issued by a Missouri college or university
  • Utility bill or current bank statement
  • Government document or paycheck showing the person’s complete address. (Click here to review the complete list)
Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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