A cold morning for Missouri voters

Published 5:55 p.m.

6:45 a.m. The cold darkness covers Columbia like a heavy blanket. The only noise that breaks the silence is the sound of my cowboy boots as I walk to Paquin Tower, one of the many polling places in Columbia.

Signs of life do not begin to emerge until just after 7 a.m. as people walk through the sliding glass doors and huddle under the concrete covering overhead.

MU student Joanna Witte, 22, a poll worker, hurries down the street to get out of the cold. The “I VOTED” sticker visible on the right side of her maroon sweater.

Witte said that one of the issues she found important on the ballot was “Tasers because it is what most people are talking about downtown, petition.”

As I stand outside the polling place bundled up to my chin in my black fleece jacket, I spot Monty Nichols, 58, who has been walking laps around Paquin Tower.

Nichols, who used to work in the Columbia Missourian mail room until he retired, said “I think the government is too big. I feel like the government tells you how to exercise. I think the country went too far to the left.”

He said, “I will probably vote against Proposition B because it gives the government control of how people raise their dogs. The government shouldn’t have control, people should.”

From time-to-time people walk through the sliding doors and congregate in the small enclosure of the bus stop, which is the only place that provides shelter from the cold wind.

As he walks from the building, Lee Morhouse, 23, pulls a cigarette from his pack and tries once to light it. He is unsuccessfully.

He takes the cigarette from between his lips as I ask him what he thought were some of the most important issues on the ballot.

“Prop A was the most important,” he said as he puts the cigarette back in his mouth and attempts again to light it. One, two, three, four times. Unsuccessful again.

“I am originally from Kansas City and 40 percent of the budget would be wiped away if they got rid of the earnings tax,” Morhouse said as he places the unlit cigarette in his breast pocket and the lighter in his pants pocket. “I’m not optimistic about it’s chances.”

For more coverage of the election visit columbiamissourian.com throughout the evening.

— Emily Droman


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