Very heavy turnout in Platte County
compelling race for president and a warm sunny day helped drive local voters to the polls on Tuesday, as extremely heavy turnout was a highlight on Election Day in Platte County.
When the dust cleared, as has come to be expected in Platte County, it was a largely successful day for the Republican party, as the GOP came out on top in most of the contested races.
Perhaps the biggest surprise among Platte County vote totals came in the race for president, where Democrat Joe Biden ran strong against incumbent Donald Trump in the heavily-Republican county. Trump pulled only about 1,000 more votes than Biden. Trump finished with 29,251 votes in Platte County (50%) to 28,111 for Biden (48%).
Trump won Missouri decisively, 59% to 41%. Nationally, the presidential race remained too close to call as of Landmark deadline on Wednesday morning, as tight vote counts remained in several swing states and the battle to get to 270 electoral votes was expected to last into the day on Wednesday, and perhaps for days ahead.
Voter turnout was initially reported at 84.5 percent by the Platte County Board of Elections, though on Wednesday morning election officials corrected themselves to say that exceptionally high turnout percentage will come “down a bit,” after it was determined that during a scanning process of absentee ballots about 1,350 more absentee ballots were recorded than should have been.
“During the scanning process we had a few batches where the scanned didn’t match the hand tally by between one and 12 votes. Those batches were re-scanned and re-counted to get to the same number. I think that one of those original scanned batches was included in the totals on accident. We are working now to correct the error,” said Chris Hershey, a director for the board of elections, about 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
Later Wednesday morning, Hershey said election officials are re-tabulating all 18,000 absentee ballots “so we are sure that we are sure.”
The re-tabulation will not be done by the end of the day Wednesday, Hershey said.
“This process will change vote totals in every race. However, I don’t expect it to change any outcome. Percentages should stay similar, while lowering vote totals,” Hershey said at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
So to emphasize for Landmark readers, the numbers reported in this story are the unofficial totals that were announced by the Platte County Board of Elections on Tuesday night.
Joe Vanover, Republican, won by a decisive margin over David Park, Democrat, in the race for second district county commissioner. Vanover will assume the position currently being held by fellow Republican John Elliott, who did not seek re-election.
“It’s my nature to look for ways to help others,” Vanover told The Landmark late Tuesday night. “I’m happy to have the opportunity to serve as county commissioner in addition to helping my clients in my law practice.”
Park, who narrowly lost to Republican incumbent Ron Schieber 52-48% in a battle for presiding commissioner in 2018, said: I’m disappointed,” he said, but offered his thanks to the 24 people who helped him campaign. He offered his “best wishes to Joe Vanover in his new role.” Park said he campaigned hard and long and was “not sure what I could have done differently.”
According to the unofficial tallies announced by the Platte County Board of Elections, Vanover won with 15,541 votes (55 percent) to 12,560 for Park (45%).
While the board of elections continues working toward getting a corrected voter turnout percentage from the 84.5% it announced on Tuesday night, it’s safe to say the scene at some local polling locations was unlike anything in recent years. Long lines appeared at some polling sites at specific times of the day, perhaps none longer than the one at the Seven Bridges Clubhouse precinct south of Platte City.
For instance, voters who arrived at Seven Bridges about 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday experienced a wait of an hour and five minutes before being handed a ballot, as the waiting line wrapped around the lobby of the clubhouse then outside and well down a nearby street.
Later in the day, the Seven Bridges location was experiencing a wait time of about 50 minutes for the after work crowd, such as those showing up about 4:45 p.m.
The nice weather day, with a high temperature of around 76 degrees, made the outdoor wait very tolerable for most, at least in terms of environmental conditions.
The Republican candidate also won the 13th district Missouri state representative race in Platte County. Sean Pouche defeated Vic Abundis, Democrat, by a margin of 56-44%. Pouche totaled 14,220 votes to 11,128 for Abundis. Neither Pouche nor Abundis could be reached for comment Tuesday night.
A Democrat won the state rep spot in district 14, which is largely in southern Platte County with some spillage into Clay County. Democrat Ashley Aune won district wide over Republican Eric Holmes by a count of 13,010 to 11,177, which is 54-46%. In the Platte County portion of the district, Aune carried 12,500 votes to 10,899 to Holmes, a margin of 53-47%.
In the district 12 state representative battle that has a portion of its boundaries within Platte County, Republican Josh Hurlbert easily defeated Democrat Wade Hugh Kiefer. Hurlbert won district-wide by a count of 14,871 to 8,000 for Kiefer, which is a margin of 65-35%. In the Platte County portion of the district, Hurlbert carried 3,572 to 1,805, 66% to 34%.
The district 11 state representative position, which includes portions of northwestern Platte County, was won by Republican Brenda Shields. Shields won with 12,241 votes to 5,147 for Democrat Brady Lee O’Dell, a margin of 70-30%. In the Platte County portion of the district, Shields had 2,504 votes to 1,032 for O’Dell, again a margin of 70-30%.
Congressman Sam Graves was a comfortable winner in the Sixth District, which includes Platte County. District-wide, Graves won with 67% of the vote to 31% for Democrat Gena Ross of Platte City. Graves totaled 258,895 votes to 118,753 for Ross. In Platte County, his margin was closer, with Graves getting 31,778 (55%) to 24,843 (43%) for Ross.
AMENDMENT 3: Local Republicans pushed hard for the passage of Amendment 3, which would ban gifts from paid lobbyists to legislators and their employees; reduce legislative campaign contribution limits and change the redistricting process that had been approved by voters in 2018. In Platte County, a majority of voters said no to changing what voters had approved in 2018. Nearly 51% of Platte County voters said no, and 49% said yes. However, the measure did narrowly pass statewide, with 51% in favor to 49% opposed.
AMENDMENT 1: This amendment sought to extend the term limits that already apply to the governor and treasurer to also apply to the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor and attorney general. In Platte County, voters said no, with 28,549 opposed (51%) and 27,591 in favor (49%). Statewide, the measure failed as well, with 52% opposed to 48% in favor.
Statewide, current governor Mike Parson was elected over current state auditor Nicole Galloway, with the Republican Parson winning 57% to 41% in the state. In Platte County, Parson’s margin was not that wide, as he carried the county 51-47%.
Platte County voters followed the statewide preference, choosing Republican Mike Kehoe over Democrat Alissia Canady by a margin of 52-45%. Statewide, Kehoe won 58-39%.
Secretary of State
Incumbent Jay Ashcroft carried Platte County with 55% over Democrat Yinka Faleti’s 42%. Statewide, Ashcroft won with 61% to 36% for Faleti.
Platte County voters preferred incumbent Scott Fitzpatrick by a margin of 54-43% over Democrat Vicki Lorenz Englund. Fitzpatrick won the statewide vote 59-38%.
Republican incumbent Eric Schmitt was the choice of Platte Countians 54-43% over Democrat Rich Finneran. Statewide, Schmitt won 59-38%.