Low turnout for Missouri's "beauty pageant" of a primary

Feb 7, 2012

Polling places are quiet today as voters trickle in for Missouri’s non-binding presidential primary. As KBIA’s Jacob Fenston reports, the election will cost taxpayers an estimated 7 million dollars, despite having no direct effect in choosing the Republican nominee.

Today’s vote is a result of political dysfunction in Jefferson City. The legislature failed to cancel the February primary, after deciding to move ahead with a March caucus – required by national party rules.

At the county building in downtown Columbia, poll workers waited behind empty polling stations.

Craig Fasel  was one of a handful who had showed up to vote by early afternoon.

Fasel: Well I didn’t realize there was a primary till I got in there. Actually, I completely forgot all about it. To me it’s a waste of taxpayer money to be holding a primary and paying for it when it doesn’t matter.

Fenston: So did you stop by to do some other business?

Fasel: No, I just figured there might be something else on the ballot.

Fenston: And there wasn’t.

Fasel: And there was not, you’re right.

Rick Santorum is hoping for a win here to boost his campaign, and he might just pull it off. According to a poll conducted yesterday by Public Policy Polling, Santorum leads Mitt Romney by 13 points among likely voters.