Competition increases as voter registration deadline approaches

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BOONE COUNTY - Wednesday is the last day to register to vote in the August primary election and both the Republican and Democratic parties are making their final pushes to get people registered.

Emily Gustafson is the Volunteer and Organization Outreach Sub-Committee chair for the Boone County Democrats. She said in the run-up to the August 7 primary, she's seen a much greater effort from both sides.

"There's been a much more significant effort this election cycle to be registering voters in general so we've been seeing a lot of volunteers and and seeing a lot of folks who have been contacted by multiple organizations to register to vote," Gustafson said.

In 2014, less than 43 percent of registered Boone County voters actually made it to the polls. According to the county clerk's office, 41,836 out of 95,943 registered voters cast their ballots.

Adrian Plank is running for the state legislator for the 47th House District. He said there's a lot at stake for Democratic Party at the polls. 

"Right now the Democratic Party really doesn't have any power at the legislative level. They've got some very good representatives, but there's not enough of them so we need to get out and vote, get some seats flipped so that the power is more leveled out and everybody has a say," Plank said.

But Republicans are choosing to focus on a more national level.

A statement from the Missouri GOP press secretary Chris Nuelle said, "Heading into August, the Missouri Republican Party remains focused on expanding our field program and highlighting Claire McCaskill's hypocrisy on a number of issues, including her refusal to announce her intention to vote for Judge Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice."

One of the hot topic issues on the August ballot is Prop A, better know as Right to Work. Democrats said they are firmly against it.

"We are a pro-worker, pro-labor, pro-union party. We are for the working class. We are for folks who need collective bargaining in order to get the benefits they need, wages they need, etc," Gustafson said.

Republicans supported the bill when it was almost signed into law by then-governor Eric Greitens in 2017.

Both Gustafson and Plank said there is no better way to help shape government than getting registered to vote.

"Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and it is the primary way that us ordinary citizens are able to participate in choosing our candidates, choosing policies, and having a voice in our government," Gustafson said.
"Voting is everybody's individual right and if you don't register, you can't vote, and everybody needs to vote," Plank said.

For more information about voting registration and requirements, visit the Boone County Clerk's website.