Early voting options abound | SteamboatToday.com

Early voting options abound

Weinland: Routt County voter registrations nearing 18,000

Melinda Dudley

— All requested mail-in ballots for the upcoming Nov. 4 general election have been sent, and the earliest Routt County residents already are casting their votes.

County staff worked through the weekend processing last-minute voter registration forms, and the latest available figures show 17,813 registered voters in Routt County, Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said Tuesday. Final numbers are expected to be available today, she said.

Nearly 6,000 mail-in ballots have been sent to Routt County voters, and people who want to avoid long lines at the polls on Nov. 4 still can request one. Registered voters can request that a ballot be mailed to them through Oct. 28, and they can pick up a mail-in ballot in person as late as Oct. 31.

Mail-in ballots can be dropped off at sites across the county, including town halls in Hayden, Yampa and Oak Creek, the Clark Store in North Routt, and the Clerk and Recorder’s Office in Steamboat Springs.

“People are already taking advantage of that convenience,” Weinland said.

Weinland reminded mail-in ballot voters that postage costs 59 cents. A single U.S. postage stamp won’t cut it. To avoid postage fees, mail-in voters can take advantage of ballot drop-off locations at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, the Election Office behind Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory on Lincoln Avenue, town clerk offices in Oak Creek, Hayden and Yampa, and the Clark Store in North Routt.

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Voters who failed to update their registration information by last week’s deadline will be required to cast a provisional ballot, as will voters who requested a mail-in ballot but show up at their polling place on Election Day. Provisional ballots are given to voters of uncertain identification and are verified and counted after regular and absentee ballots.

Anyone who requested a mail-in ballot by the Oct. 6 voter registration deadline but has not received one should contact the Elections Office at 870-5558 to request a replacement ballot and to ensure the address on their registration is correct, Weinland said.

“We’ve gotten an influx of updated requests with a different address, and we’d already processed the ballot and sent it to the first address,” Weinland said.

Weinland also reassured voters that registrations have not been canceled in Routt County, unless the Clerk and Recorder’s Office has received notice that the voter has registered elsewhere or has passed away.

“With our statewide voter registration system, it happens pretty automatically,” Weinland said. “If someone in Routt County registers in JeffCo, for example, the computer cancels the record in our county. We just print those notifications and send them.”

An Oct. 9 New York Times article cited Colorado as one of six states where voter registrations were being canceled close to the election under suspicious circumstances. Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman disputed the voter registration figures used in the Times report.

Routt County has not systematically purged its rolls for inactive voters since after the 2004 general election. As many as a quarter of currently registered voters may be considered “inactive,” and are likely to have moved, Weinland said.

Early voting begins Monday in Steamboat Springs, and Weinland urged anyone voting in person to arrive prepared.

Sample ballots are available online at http://www.co.routt.co.us/clerk, at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office in the Routt County Courthouse, and in the county Elections Office at 624 Lincoln Ave., behind Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Upcoming forums

The Routt County League of Women Voters 2008 Candidates’ Night Public Forum is at 7 p.m. today at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

Mark Fisher will moderate the forum, which will include discussion on races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, state Senate, state House, state Board of Education and 14th Judicial District Attorney.

Most of the candidates expect to appear in person, with the exception of the U.S. Senate candidates, Routt County League of Women Voters President Catherine Lykken said. Former Republican Congressman Bob Schaffer and U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, will send representatives, Lykken said.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today, Steamboat tv18, the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, and the Routt County Republican and Democratic parties will co-sponsor a candidates forum beginning at 5 p.m. Friday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. For those unable to attend, Steamboat tv18 will rebroadcast the debate in the weeks leading up to Election Day.

Early voting

Early voting takes place from Oct. 20 to Oct. 31 in Steamboat Springs, and Oct. 25 in Hayden and Oak Creek.

– Routt County Courthouse Annex

136 Sixth St., Steamboat Springs

Oct. 20 to 24, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Oct. 25, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Oct. 27 to 31, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

– Hayden Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall

398 S. Poplar St., Hayden

Oct. 25, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

– Oak Creek Town Hall

129 Nancy Crawford Blvd., Oak Creek

Oct. 25, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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