ST. LOUIS – Across St. Louis County, it looked like Election Day had arrived 12 days early as four satellite absentee polling places opened Thursday.
There have been long lines at St. Louis County Board of Election headquarters in north county since single location absentee voted started there a month ago.
It was pretty much the same scene at the satellite locations on day one. Chesterfield and south St. Louis County locations had 100 to 150 people in line consistently throughout the day, according to elections officials.
The line was heavy early at the Clayton location but tapered off in the afternoon.
The number of people voting absentee either in-person or by mail has already more than doubled the total number for 2016, an election official said. Through Wednesday, before the satellite locations even opened, about 120,000 absentee votes had already been cast this year; that’s more than double the 2016 total of about 55,000, the official said.
“I hope everybody has a say in how things turn out. I think a lot of groups are being targeted,” said absentee voter Deepali Chand. “I just hope everybody votes the right candidate and we have a better country coming forward.”
There also seemed to be more women in line Thursday. Even with the final presidential debate still to come Thursday evening and the candidates targeting suburban women voters, a large group had obviously already made up their minds.
Absentee voter Debbie Roesch said there might be something to it.
“I think there is, with my friends. Yes. We absolutely talk about it, absolutely. I think a lot of us are feeling the same way and voting the same way,” she said.
Elections officials expect 3,000 to 5,000 daily absentee votes total between now and election day with more than 33 percent of all votes cast in St. Louis County (Missouri’s largest county) in 2020 coming via absentee voting compared to about 10 percent in 2016.