Missourians Head To The Polls For Presidential Primary | St. Louis Public Radio

Missourians Head To The Polls For Presidential Primary

5 hours ago

Updated at noon, March 10, with a polling place in north St. Louis moving

Missouri Democrats will cast their ballots Tuesday in what’s become a two-man contest pitting former Vice President Joe Biden against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

While the Biden-Sanders showdown should run up voter turnout in Democratic pockets of the state, the lack of competition on the GOP side could affect the overall number of people who vote.

There will be 68 Democratic delegates up for grabs in Missouri’s Democratic primary. And both Biden and Sanders have spent time and money in the state.

Presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to a crowd of supporters at Kiener Plaza Park in downtown St. Louis on Saturday afternoon.
Credit Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Biden has won support from high-level Missouri Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan. Supporters of candidates who dropped out, including Michael Bloomberg-backer former Gov. Jay Nixon, have also coalesced around Biden.

When he visited St. Louis on Saturday, Biden said he was the unifying force that could take on President Donald Trump in November — adding that he has what it takes to bring Democrats, Republicans and independents together.

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters at the Stifel Theatre in downtown St. Louis on Monday afternoon.
Credit Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

While Sanders doesn’t have as many official endorsements, he does have strong support in Missouri from progressives. And he nearly won the state in 2016 despite having less money and organizational manpower than he does in 2020. He’s also snagged support from elected officials like St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones.

If the race is close, as it was in 2008 and 2016, then Biden and Sanders will likely split the state’s delegates relatively evenly. 

Trump is facing several lesser-known Republicans in the GOP presidential primary. The president has handily won all the GOP primaries so far this year. 

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said when there’s been an incumbent president, primary turnout has been around 8% or 9%. 

“However, there's the thought that President Trump might push people that agree or disagree with him to be a part of the process,” Ashcroft said. “We're hopeful that it'll be far higher than those single digits and it'll be closer in line to some projections of 40%. But nobody really knows.”

Ashcroft is encouraging anyone who has voting questions to call local election officials — or his office at 800-669-8683.

“I would just encourage people to reach out to our office,” Ashcroft said. “If they hear that their polling place isn’t open or anything like that, that probably isn't true. That may just be misinformation accidentally. And we are here to help them make sure they know where they need to vote, where they're registered and what they need to have. We want to help them with that.”

Missouri polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Anyone who is in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Polling place change in north St. Louis

The city of St. Louis moved one of its polling places Tuesday after a man intentionally backed his car into the building where voting was taking place. The polling place, in Ward 22 on the city’s northwest side, moved to the Pierre Laclede Junior Career Academy at 5821 Kennerly Ave. 

According to a St. Louis Police Department spokesperson, the man backed his car into the building, then caused a disturbance inside. Police took him into custody and transported him to a hospital for evaluation.


Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

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