By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer
More voters than ever before are choosing to avoid the lines and send in absentee ballots.
Clinton County broke its record for absentee votes with 12,349, up from the record set in 2008 of 10,600 absentee ballots.
“This election will look different than any other,” Auditor Eric Van Lancker said. “We will have to figure out what this means for the future.”
The voters that have requested ballots represent nearly one-half of the registered voters in Clinton County, with a difference between election day votes and absentee of only 180 votes. There was a total of 34,758 registered voters with 25,060 ballots cast. Of those ballots, 12,620 were filled out on election day and 12,440 were filled out as absentee.
“We will likely have some more absentee ballots trickle in through Thursday afternoon, but it is looking like a 17 percent increase from the last election,” Van Lancker said.
Voter turnout was slightly down from the 2008 election, with 72.10 percent from 74.42 percent. This was no surprise to the Auditor’s Office.
“I was expecting that number to be around 70 percent,” Van Lancker said.
Obama received 15,123 votes or 60.56 percent and Mitt Romney got 9,421 or 37.73 percent similar to 2008. In the previous election, the president received 15,018 votes, or 60.75 percent of the ballots cast in Clinton County. John McCain received 9,324 votes 37.72 percent.
Results from the Auditor’s Office also came in within an hour of the polls closing.
“Last night went well,” Van Lancker said. “We had a very busy day at polling locations, but the precinct officials did great and hung in there. I’m very proud of them and the Auditor’s Office staff.”