Will Flooding Affect The Missouri Primary? The Show-Me State Has Seen Some Dangerous Storms
Just a day before five states cast ballots for GOP and Democratic presidential nominees on "Super Tuesday 3," parts of the South prepared for more brutal thunderstorms and potential flooding. Six people have died this week because of the dangerous weather — four in Louisiana, one in Texas, and one in Oklahoma. The votes in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Illinois are safe from the storms, but flooding could affect the Missouri presidential primaries' voter turnout Tuesday.
Monday morning, parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas were under flood or river warnings, and Louisiana, Missouri, and Tennessee had flash-flood warnings (the difference being that a flash flood happens within hours). In Missouri specifically, the southwestern section of the state and the city of Springfield were in danger of flash floods over the weekend and into Monday. There were dangerous flash floods in downtown Springfield Sunday evening, and the Springfield National Weather Service urged people to turn around and go home on Twitter. The agency tweeted that there were at least 60 water rescues on Sunday, as people got trapped in the water rushing into the streets and parking lots.
If the rainy conditions continue, both the GOP and Democratic primaries could see low voter turnout at precincts in southwest Missouri. Even if the flood warnings are lifted before voting begins, people could still be deterred if they're dealing with flood damage to their homes, vehicles, or roads.
Luckily, the thunderstorms are expected to pass before Tuesday. According to The Weather Channel, the rain in Springfield began letting up Monday morning, and the city's expected to be mostly sunny Tuesday.
The areas that experienced the most flooding might still see a dip in voter turnout, however. Videos of flash floods in Springfield showed water at least a few feet deep overtaking parked vehicles and blocking doorways, which no doubt caused damage that will need to be addressed immediately. It's hard enough to motivate people to show up at a polling place in decent weather conditions, much less after a destructive storm.
The city should largely return to normal by Tuesday, so the presidential primaries shouldn't see any major problems. A slight decrease in participation in Springfield could skew the votes a bit — as it's Missouri's third largest city — but not enough to make a huge difference for either party. After all, the city's still a small portion of the state's overall population. The largest impact will likely be in determining which GOP candidate will receive the five delegates from the seventh congressional district (where Springfield lies) if no Republican wins a clear majority statewide and the vote is broken down by district.