15 months after flood, Clay County prepares for election day
Beverly Craft has been Clay County clerk since October of 2020. She and her staff spent election eve prepping the county’s 20 precincts – about one for each 1,000 residents. She said spotty cell phone service makes it hard to connect electronic polling books and geographically, Clay County’s big.
“We already have people you know, that are driving 13, 15 miles to vote, and that’s with 20 locations. Our county, as far as acreage goes, is pretty large size for our population. And so, if we cut down our locations, you know, we're going to have people driving a lot farther.”
While Clay County was one of the counties hit hard by the July 2022 floods, Craft said just one of their 20 polling places was affected last November. She and her staff used voter registration data, magistrates and pastors to let people know they’d need to take an alternate route to the same place. This year, all roads are clear. Craft said compared to the May primary, early and in-person absentee voting at the county clerk’s office were up for this November’s election.
“It was a steady stream. You know, not people weren't lined up or anything, but you know, it was, you know, kind of a speeding little flow.”
Craft said it’s hard to compare projected turnout with last November’s because there aren’t any local races on the ballot this year.
“Usually the state is less, as far as our county goes, then the federal and county elections. Now, seems like there is, you know, showing pretty good interest. The state was telling us to plan for 45%. I will be surprised if we hit that mark – but I may be fooled."
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