Uniformity in Election Administration: A 2008 Survey of Swing State County Clerks--Missouri Edition

by Allison McNeely, Adam Fogel // Published August 28, 2008

The Democracy SOS Project is aimed to increase transparency in election administration and monitor actions of election officials, starting with Secretaries of State. This report is a compilation of the results of surveying county clerks in 10 “swing states” during the 2008 presidential election. FairVote staff and interns surveyed nearly every county clerk in Missouri, New Mexico, Colorado and Pennsylvania, as well as election officials in counties with at least 500,000 residents in Ohio, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia and Wisconsin.

We asked questions designed to shed light on the practices of the county, as well as their interpretation and compliance with state law. We asked questions regarding the allocation of voting machines and poll booths in order to assess the county clerks’ preparedness in ensuring that there would not be long lines and everyone would be able to vote on Election Day. We asked every county clerk if they planned to put together a written allocation plan of their machines/booths, to assess if these plans have been well thought out. We inquired as to when draft and final versions of the ballot would be ready to assess their clarity and to ensure the public has time to review the ballot before Election Day, which helps cut down the amount of time voters spend in the voting booth. Finally, we asked about the number of post-secondary institutions in each county and if they had oncampus polling locations to evaluate accessibility for youth voters.

In total, there are 117 counties in Missouri and FairVote was able to speak with all but 7 of the county clerks. The counties we were unable to reach were Barry, Cole, Greene, Pemiscot, St. Charles, Texas and Wright.