Boone County voters face polling place changes

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BOONE COUNTY - Some Boone County residents may face a change in their polling places for Election Day. Some past polling places opted out of allowing voting, despite the county's expectation of higher voter turnout.

Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren said the county had 46 polling places for the Aug. 2 primary and will have 82 for the Nov. 8 general election. Noren said there were 73 locations for the 2012 general election.

Boone County's population has increased over the past four years, creating the need for more polling locations for this election, according to Noren. 

"It depends on the elections as to how many polling places we're going to have, which facilities will allow us to use it again," Noren said.

Noren said the Boone County Clerk's office anticipates an estimated 80,000 to 85,000 voters total, depending on how tightly contested people perceive the presidential election to be. She said she tries to assign 1,000 to 1,500 people per polling place. Noren said it was hard to find a facility in some areas of town, particularly northeast Columbia, and some locations told the office they did not want to participate since there were five different elections this year.

The Boone County Clerk's office mails or e-mails a sample ballot and a polling location notice prior to every election based on how the voter chooses to receive this notification.

Columbia resident Sarah Catlin said her polling place changed for the first time since she moved to Columbia in 1999. Her polling place changed from a church within walking distance from her house to a Stephens College ballroom twice the distance away.

Noren said in the past, thousands of people have waited until Election Day to update their address or check on their polling place. 

"If they don't update their address, I can't intuit where people live," Noren said.

She said people cannot go to their old polling places to vote and must update their address every year to make sure they receive polling information. 

Noren said Boone County residents who do not know their polling place can look it up on the Boone County Clerk's website or call the office to find out their location.