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Fifteen Missouri counties have more voters than census population

By   /   October 26, 2010  /   News  /   9 Comments

Missouri has about 90.3 percent of its census voting-age population registered to vote, but 15 counties show more registered voters than people 18 and older.

Missouri counties with more than 100 percent voter registration (in red)

These results use the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Missouri Secretary of State, but 12 of these counties also had more than 100 percent registration in 2008.

These numbers may be high but are an improvement after a federal lawsuit in 2005 found 37 Missouri election jurisdictions had more voters than voting age population.

An article in the Kansas City Star in October 2004 said “If Missouri’s voter rolls are accurate, that would mean that 98 percent of adults are registered to vote .”  But the lawsuit was dropped in 2009.

[Update] Laura Egerdal, spokesperson for the Missouri Secretary of State, gave this response on Wednesday:

I would encourage you to take a closer look at the number of active voters, rather than total registered voters. Often, inactive voters appear on the list because the local election authority is waiting the required two federal election cycles before the voter can be removed. The decision in the Department of Justice case you referenced states that federal law “makes it inevitable that voter registration lists will be inflated” because of its requirement that local election authorities wait to remove a voter who has not responded to a canvass mailing until they fail to vote in two successive federal elections.

Missouri’s voter registration rolls are more accurate than ever before, thanks to the diligent work of local election authorities. Over the past 5 years, our office has actively monitored the list maintenance activities of the local election authorities, issued regular reminders on the requirements of state and federal law, and conducted dozens of trainings across the state. Resources such as state vital records information from the Department of Health and Senior Services (identifying deceased voters in Missouri) are updated at least weekly, and we’ve regularly performed matches with the Social Security Administration death records database.

Our office has provided an unprecedented level of support to local election authorities, reimbursing more than $2.27 million their list maintenance activities. We’ve made additional funds available through a grant program that focuses on list maintenance. This includes funding for temporary staff for data entry, printing and postage for NVRA canvass mailings, and even Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. To identify duplicates across state lines, Missouri participates in a multi-state data sharing agreement with 12 midwest states. To identify Missourians who have moved within the state, but not updated their voter registration, we match the voter rolls against the US Postal Service’s “Nation Change of Address” list and send each of those voters a form to update their address.

These proactive efforts by our office go above and beyond the requirements of state and federal law, and they have resulted in the hundreds of thousands of deceased persons and duplicates removed from the rolls since we implemented the statewide list in late 2005.

According to a December 2005 Kansas City Star article, Reynolds County had a 151 percent registration rate at that time. Mike Harper, county clerk of Reynolds County, was not available for comment on Monday or Tuesday for their current 125.8 percent rate, which is the highest of all election jurisdictions.

Voter registration rates for Missouri election districts with population 200,000 or more:

Counties with the lowest registration rates:

Comparison of U.S. Census Voting Age Estimates to Missouri Registered Voters, 2008 and 2010

// Comparison of U.S. Census Voting Age Estimates to Missouri Registered Voters, 2008 and 2010

Methodology:  County registered voter counts were derived from a voter registration file obtained from the Missouri Secretary of State on Aug. 27, 2010.

County population estimates were derived from online census files.  Population estimates for those under 18 were subtracted from the total population to derive a voting age population estimate.  The latest population estimates are from July 2009. Census data from 2010 are not yet available.

Using current voter data from 2010 with population estimates from 2009 may result in a slightly higher voter participation rate than actual.

A consistency check was made with data from 2008 where both census estimates and voter registration numbers were available during the same year.

Voter registration data for Kansas City and Jackson County were combined since the U.S. Census does not break out Kansas City from the rest of Jackson County in the available files.



See KSHB’s “Grave Concerns” about voter registration issues in Kansas and Missouri.

Contact: Earl F Glynn, [email protected], KansasWatchdog.org


  • This is disgusting that such a feeble attempt was made by the Secretary of State’s office to clean up the fraud after being made aware in 2005. If it took them 5 years to clean up 22 counties (37 counties in 2005 minus 15 counties still today), it’s going to take them about 9 years total to clean this up. 9 years of elections where there’s fraud and disenfranchisement occurring. It’s unacceptable that our vote is compromised like this. I’ll be interested to see what the Secretary of State’s office comes up with to explain this.

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  • Eric m

    So the Democrat bring in the dead and illegals to vote I see…

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  • Robyn Hamlin

    Saint Louis has a high number of registered voters because there are so many who vote from the grave.

  • Anne Sherwood

    In Kansas City, there was a point on the ballet asking voters if redistricting should only be done until after Census information was released! I think it passed, but to think that would be done before and then done again after is typically the way this state works, with the expense passed on to tax payers. The Repubs have been out in force, so we have lost a lot of seats, and Roy Blunt won inspite of the lousy record he has already established. Fox News and the millionaires who supported the Repub sites are responsible for telling so many lies that people who did not think or research believed them. We’ve lived here for 38 years and Missouri politics have always amazed us in their obstructions and elected officials who vote party line regardless of how good it is for the country. I am not the least surprised there are more voters than the Census has on record.

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  • Larry Burton

    I live in one of the ‘fraud’ counties in Missouri. I personaly know several people who vote but refuse to be counted by the census. Did it EVER occur to you muckrakers that the census data might not be totally accurate?

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