Polls close in Routt County | SteamboatToday.com

Polls close in Routt County

Staff report

Election judge Frank Bradley waits for voters at the Steamboat Springs Community Center Tuesday morning. Bradley credited early voting for the lack of lines and said things were running smoothly early Tuesday.

— Election Day was generally a breeze for Steamboat Springs voters who didn’t cast early or mail-in ballots.

Voters have reported no or minimal waits at polling locations in Steamboat. There was no wait at the Centennial Hall polling location at 8 a.m. this morning, and the same was true at the old courthouse, where election volunteers and poll watchers seemed surprised by the lack of activity.

The lack of lines could be attributed to the large number of county voters who cast their ballots early or by mail. According to county Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland, more than 60 percent of registered voters in Routt County either voted early or applied for a mail-in ballot. More than two-thirds of issued mail-in ballots had been returned and processed by the end of last week, Weinland said.

With polls now closed, Weinland and her staff will begin tallying votes. A significant chunk of the results could be released within minutes of the polls closing. Steamboatpilot.com will post election results as they become available.

Around the county

Voters strolled through in steady streams during lunchtime today in southern and western Routt County.

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In Oak Creek, resident Arlan Peckham said he was glad the day had finally arrived. He’s been getting call after political call, he said.

“I go home and just erase all the messages on the phone,” Peckham said. “It’s out of hand.”

Oak Creek Town Hall saw its biggest rush when the polls opened at 7 a.m., election officials and poll watchers said. About 20 people were waiting outside the door, election official Verna Whaley said.

“I’ve sat in on a lot of (elections), and this one’s about as busy as they get,” she said.

Jimmy Artz, of Oak Creek, said he was looking forward to “change.”

“I’m happy,” Artz said after voting. “Abraham Lincoln’s going to be smiling tomorrow unless there’s fraud in the state.”

Down the road in Yampa, most voters were asking for paper ballots over voting machines, officials said. More than 100 people had voted at Yampa Town Hall by 1 p.m. today.

“This has been a very good turnout,” said Larry Bond, who was running the electronic voting machine. “This is the most people I’ve seen in 20-some years I’ve been doing it.”

Donna Bratton, of Yampa, said she still wasn’t sure what her choice would be as she waited in a short line to vote. She and her husband have been discussing it, she said.

“When I go in there, I’m still going to be thinking,” Bratton said. “Jim and I have talked about it and talked about it and talked about it.”

Voting was running smoothly in Hayden, election official Tina Fry reported. There had been no lines, she said, and voters were coming in steadily all day.

About 290 people had voted as of about 2:30 p.m. Of those, 80 percent opted for voting machines over paper ballots, she said.

“Voter moods have been awesome,” Fry said. “They’ve all been coming prepared; we’ve been moving really fast.”

Voter Jonah Drescher, of Hayden, said he thought people were especially curious and interested in the outcome of this year’s election.

“I was excited today, actually,” Drescher said. “It seems like it’s going to be a big election for either side.”