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High voter turnout, several write-ins story of the night

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NOREEN HYSLOP-nhyslop@dailystatesman.com Stoddard County Recorder of Deeds Kay Asbell and successful incumbent Treasurer/Collector Carla Knowles Moore kept up with the tally boards Tuesday night at the Government Building in Bloomfield as votes came in from across the county. Unofficial numbers reflect that about 64 percent of registered voters in the county turned out for the Nov. 6 election.
BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- For the second straight Presidential election in Stoddard County, voters turned out at a rate of more than 60 percent.

Of the county's 20,408 registered voters, 13,052 (64 percent) cast ballots on Tuesday.

Impressive turnout was only a portion of the night's story, though.

The counting process was slowed down considerably due to a large amount of write-ins. Overall in the county, a total of 1,366 write-in votes were cast, but not necessarily in the races one might expect.

A handful were tossed out in the national elections, but several local elections saw higher than typical write-in numbers.

One of those -- for surveyor -- was no surprise because there was no candidate named on the ballot. A total of 599 write-in votes were cast in that race.

Three other county races also saw fairly high write-in numbers, including Assessor (181), Sheriff (210) and Public Administrator (181).

What makes write-in votes complicate the vote counting process is that when votes are counted with an optical eye machine, the machine rejects any ballots with a write-in candidate. Each of those votes then has to be counted manually before the process can continue.

While the process goes slower, the office of Stoddard County Clerk Joe Watson, along with numerous employees and volunteers, worked hard throughout the night and had a final tally shortly before midnight Tuesday.

In the end, Stoddard County -- and even state politics -- will be seeing some new faces out of the region.

The 25th District State Senate seat, being vacated by Sen. Rob Mayer due to term limits, was won by Doug Libla, a Republican Poplar Bluff businessman. Libla won over his challenger, State Rep. Terry Swinger (D-162), 56 percent to 44 percent. The race encompassed votes in eight different counties and 151 precincts.

The 151st State Representative District race wasn't as close as some predicted. Republican Dennis Fowler won over his Democrat opponent, Ryan Wm. Holder, by a margin of 66 percent to 34 percent.

In the race for Circuit Judge of the 35th District, State Sen. Rob Mayer won by a rather wide margin against Associate Judge Steve Mitchell. Mayer won the race 59 percent

to 41 percent. The race encompassed all of Stoddard and all of Dunklin Counties, so the final tallies weren't in until later in the evening.

The race for first district County Commissioner looked one way throughout the evening and then spun around in the later hours of the count. As a result, Republican Danny Talkington won the seat over Democrat challenger Dale Moreland by a margin of 50 percent to 48

percent. In that race, a total of 179 votes decided the election.

The race for second district County Commission-er was not as close. The incumbent Republican Carol Jarrell won a rather strong victory over Democrat challenger Al Banken with 62 percent of the vote to 38 percent.

The Collector/Treaurer race didn't see any changes in 2012. Incumbent Democrat Carla "Knowles" Moore beat Republican challenger Mike Watkins by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin.

Stoddard Countians can also welcome a new Coroner this week as Democrat Kenny Pope won a solid victory over his Republican opponent, Darrell Penberthy, by a margin of 64 percent to

36 percent.

The only county ballot measure also won a strong victory Tuesday evening. Proposition 1 was aimed at changing the office of Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney from a part-time job to a full-time job. Voters came out in support of the measure by a margin of 56 percent to

44 percent.

The election results, following counting, have to be certified by Stoddard County Clerk Joe Watson and then later this month by Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

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In all County elections, I'm pleased. We have a good county presiding commissioner, Greg Mathis. Jarrell is already experienced working with him, and Talkington will do a good job also. Coroner and treasurer reallly ought to be non partisan jobs. Mayer is on his way to eventually become state attorney general. He'll do a fine job. Writeins! LOL!

-- Posted by swift on Wed, Nov 7, 2012, at 12:03 PM

Congratulations to Judge Rob Mayer! An upstanding choice for the bench. His families can all be justly proud. And, congrats to an old Bearcat who roamed the halls and cages of DHS around the time I did...

-- Posted by skidsteer on Thu, Nov 8, 2012, at 5:59 AM

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