Lisa Adey, a deputy in the county clerk's office assists a voter. (File photo)

Updated 5:44 p.m. Texas County residents continue to arrive at polls in what may be historic numbers.

The Houston polling precinct reported 2,085 ballots cast at 5:35 p.m. Registered voters continued to flow into the Houston Storm Shelter, where the parking lot is full. Anyone in line at 7 p.m. will be able to vote.

In 2004, there were just over 2,000 ballots counted at the Piney Township precinct.

Updated 1:20 p.m. Houston’s polling precinct reported 1,469 votes cast.

Updated 1:06 p.m. County Clerk Don Troutman said as many as 12,000 registered voters will travel to polls if voting continues at its current pace.

That represents about 78 percent of the registered voters in the county.

A mid-day check at the county’s 10 polling locations showed things moving well, Troutman told the Herald.

“It’s going fairly smooth,” he said. He noted election judges will go to the end of the line at 7 p.m. Those arriving after that will not be allowed to vote.

Troutman also said he’s not received any reports of text messages that say that persons can also vote Wednesday because of long lines. It has been reported in Howell County.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan responded to reports of the misleading text messages and “robo-calls” from around Missouri which encourage some voters to wait and vote tomorrow. The messages, forwarded to the secretary of state’s office by several voters, have been sent to the U.S. Attorney’s office for further investigation.

Updated 12:28 p.m. Election judges at the Houston storm shelter say this is the busiest election they’ve witnessed. Shortly after 12:15 p.m., just over 1,300 people had cast their ballot.

County Clerk Don Troutman said his office has already handled about 1,300 absentee requests.

A record turnout is predicted today. One person told an official it was the first time he had voted since casting his vote for Jimmy Carter.

Polls remain open until 7 p.m. at 10 locations in the county.

A high-profile presidential election, a nearly full slate of statewide positions and issues, as well as several county races, will likely send county residents to precincts in droves, Troutman predicted earlier this week. He urged residents to study the ballot before arriving at polls. That will cut the wait time if voters are prepared to cast their ballot, he said.

The centerpiece is the presidential race with Sens. John McCain, a Republican, and Barack Obama, a Democrat, battling to capture the title. The latest polling data in Missouri, a bellwether for presidential politics in the country, shows the race too close to call. The contest is historic: McCain’s choice of running mate Gov. Sarah Palin marks the first time a female is on the GOP ticket. Obama could become the first African American to capture the White House.

Statewide, voters will decide Missouri’s next governor. Attorney General Jay Nixon, a Democrat, opposes Congressman Kenny Hulshof, R-Columbia, for the chance to fill the governor’s office. Matt Blunt, a Republican, stunned the political world earlier this year when he announced he would not seek re-election. Hulshof faced a bruising primary against State Treasurer Sarah Steelman.

Seeking her job are Republican Brad Lager and Democrat Clint Zweifel.

Down the ballot, the race for lieutenant governor has attracted the most attention. Incumbent Peter Kinder, a Bootheel Republican, faces a challenge from Democrat Sam Page.

Seeking to replace Nixon in the attorney general’s office are Mike Gibbons, a Republican; and Chris Koster, a Democrat.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat, is opposed by Republican Mitch Hubbard.

On the county level, incumbent District 2 commissioner Linda Garrett of Licking, a Republican, is opposed by Linda Miller, Licking’s mayor, who is a Democrat.

District 1 Commissioner Joe Whetstine, a Cabool Republican, did not seek re-election. Working to fill his seat are John Casey, a Simmons Republican, and David Adkison, a Houston Democrat.

Terry Kell of Raymondville, a Democrat, is challenging Assessor Debbie James, a Republican.

Opposing Democrat Sheriff Carl Watson is Republican Matt Thompson.

Running unopposed are Treasurer-Collector Tammy Cantrell, Public Administrator Theresa Campbell, Coroner Tom Whittaker and Surveyor Louie E. Carmack Jr. All are Democrats. State Rep. Don Wells, R-Cabool, also is unopposed.

Sen. Chuck Purgason of Caulfield, a Republican, is opposed by Eric Reeve, a Democrat.

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, this area’s congresswoman, is opposed by Joe Allen, a Democrat.

Texas County voters also face ballot issues related to riverboat gambling, state water control financing, English as the official language, homecare and renewable energy sources.

Election returns will appear Tuesday shortly after 7 p.m. at the Herald’s Web site, www.houstonherald.com and the newspaper’s information channel seen in cable homes in Licking, Houston and Raymondville on channel 7.

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