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Expectations were high for voter turnout in Ray County this year.
Although not as high as expected, nearly 66 percent of registered voters in Ray County participated. County Clerk Lynn Rogers said the last time voter turnout was this high was in 1992 when an unknown governor from Arkansas named Bill Clinton defeated incumbent George H. Bush.
Rogers said 77 percent of voters turned out in that election.
Richmond Election Supervisor Holly Moentmann said Richmond voters were very patient despite the long lines.
“We were very, very busy all day and handled it as best we could,” Moentmann said. “For the most part, the voters were very cooperative. Lines started forming around 5:30 a.m. and they swarmed in. I’ve never seen anything like it. This was history in the making.”
The election did not go off without glitches. The biggest was in Lawson where voter returns were not reported until after midnight. Lawson was late, due to remaking of spoiled ballots, according to Ray County Clerk Lynn Rogers. That precinct ran out of ballots, creating the emergency situation of photo copying clean ballots so people could vote. This is allowable by law. The copies had to be rewritten to official ballots under the supervision of Democrat and Republican poll watchers and an election judge, according to Rogers.
In addition the county’s voting computer crashed early in the morning. Someone from Ray County had to drive to Clinton to retrieve a replacement yesterday morning.
Throughout the day a steady stream of voters spilled out onto the front sidewalk and streets on North Main. Voters leaving Ray County Courthouse just an hour before polls closed said they had been waiting in line for about an hour and a half. The last voter cast their ballot at 7:45 p.m.
In Wood Heights, lack of available parking created problems for voters.
Ray County Voter Registrar Lori Naylor said some people showed up in Richmond to vote but were not registered.