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Despite the lines, St. Louis County elections official says absentee voting similar to 2012

The line of St. Louis County voters seeking to cast absentee ballots on Saturday stretched across Deer Creek Plaza shopping center in Maplewood, where the county's only voting office is situated.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

A top St. Louis County elections official says this fall’s absentee balloting is in line with the turnout in 2012, despite the stunning long lines seen outside the county’s only balloting office.

On Saturday, the line of hundreds of potential voters stretched across Deer Creek Plaza, a shopping center that spans several blocks in Maplewood. Voting continued for some time after the 1 p.m. closing, because all voters in line at that time are by law allowed to vote.

The final day of absentee balloting is Monday and will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Democratic elections director Eric Fey said he is sticking with his projection that about 70,000 county residents will cast absentee ballots for Tuesday’s election. Fey added that in-person absentee balloting may prove to have been slightly higher than during the last presidential election four years ago. But that's been offset by an apparent decline in mail-in absentee votes, he said.

St. Louis County is the state's largest voting jurisdiction, with more than 750,000 registered voters.

St. Louis Public Radio is a partner with Propublica's Electionland Project, which is covering access to the ballot and problems that prevent people from exercising their right to vote during the 2016 election. If you are aware of any such problems, let us us know, or text your concern to ELECTIONLAND to 69866.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.