Boone County clerk to destroy vault of completed ballots

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COLUMBIA - More than 37,000 people voted in Boone County Tuesday, and all of their completed ballots will be destroyed. 

For now, the ballots will sit in bags in what Boone County clerk Taylor Burks calls "the vault". 

“They are sent to secure destruction, if you will. They are shredded and then they burn them after that," he said. 

Even the unused ballots are sealed up and destroyed. 

The county keeps the ballots for 22 months, just in case any election results are called into question. 

The clerk's office uses a formula to predict how many ballots are needed for each election.

"We don’t print a ballot for every single registered voter," Burks said. "In a primary, it’s difficult to know if someone is going to pull a democrat ballot or a republican ballot." 

If the county printed one ballot per party per voter, it would amount to more than 400,000 ballots. 

"We tend to print twice as many per party as we need, but we certainly don't print one ballot per party per person. That would be way too much," Burks said. 

Under federal law, every polling location is required to have at least one ADA accessible electronic voting machine for federal elections.

"For state and local elections, the county has one electronic voting machine at a central location because most people don’t use it," Burks said.

Burks predicts about 95 percent of voters used paper ballots Tuesday. 

"I think that more and more people are comfortable and want the reassurance of a paper audit trail," he said.

Burks said, especially with the 2016 election, voters want the safety of a physical ballot.

"With both concerns for hacking and for voter fraud," he said. "A paper ballot just provides you that ability to always go back and have something in your hand rather than on a computer algorithm to drill down into the data."

Final voter turnout was 37.3 percent, which is higher than both the 2014 and the 2016 primary elections. 

“There were quite a few places that had a morning rush, an afternoon rush, you can never quite predict that," Burks said. "All told though, the polling teams did a fantastic job accommodating those voters."

Voter turnout by precinct is available on the Boone County clerk's website