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Boy scouts volunteering on Election Day take polling equipment into the Christian County Clerk's Office inside the Historic Courthouse on Aug. 7, 2018.

Christian County Clerk Kay Brown said something about voter turnout worth noting headed into the Nov. 6, election.

Brown anticipates that more than half of the registered voters in Christian County will vote in the election.

“I’m anticipating at least 60 percent—at least,” Brown said.

Brown reported an influx of new and first-time voter registrations during weeks of what she described as, “non-stop bop,” in the clerk’s office. That’s excellent. People who haven’t voted before need to do their part.

The county clerk believes there is a strong link to voter turnout and ballot issues controlling vices. If you start talking about regulating alcohol, tobacco, drugs or other vices, voters will be inspired to get to the polling places.

“Any kind of vice and taxes will bring anybody out,” Brown said with a chuckle.

Brown links three ballot items related to medical marijuana legalization to a rising number of absentee ballots leading up to what should be high voter turnout in Christian County.

“I think everyone has an opinion on (medical marijuana),” Brown said. “If nothing else, that and the gas tax are bringing people out.”

That’s Proposition D, which the Ozark Chamber of Commerce and the Nixa Chamber of Commerce are both endorsing. If you read our letters to the editor, you’ll see that Nixa Mayor Brian Steele and Ozark Mayor Rick Gardner are also backing Prop D.

Proposition D would raise the state motor fuel tax by 10 cents — in 2.5-cent increments annually in July over four years — to 27 cents per gallon July 1, 2022. Proceeds from the tax will generate “at least” $288 million annually to the State Road Fund for Missouri state law enforcement and $123 million annually to local governments for road construction and maintenance.

Gov. Mike Parson is also a Proposition D backer.

There is also Amendment 4, which would “remove language limiting bingo game advertising that a court ruled was unconstitutional and not enforceable,” according to the Secretary of State’s Office. 

Minimum wage, campaign finance reform, Christian County government and a race for U.S. Senate may not be quite as vice-like as medical marijuana, but voters should take equal pride in conducting their civic duty when they vote in those races.

Finally, it’s great to anticipate a voter turnout of about 60 percent, but it’s also a little sad. In November 2016, about 75 percent of Christian County registered voters cast ballots. This means that turnout is expected to drop.

A decline in participation in the election process is not something to celebrate.

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