Early voting starts today, continues through Nov. 2 | SteamboatToday.com

Early voting starts today, continues through Nov. 2

Margaret Hair

Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland sets up voting machines in the Routt County Courthouse annex. Early voting is scheduled to begin Monday, offering voters in the county a chance to get out early.

— Weeks of courting voters and attending election forums will begin to pay off for candidates today when Routt County’s polls open for early voting.

The two-week early voting period is expected to attract a large number of residents looking to avoid the long lines that plagued county voting centers last year. Early voting is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. this week at the Routt County Courthouse Annex. The polls will stay open a little later next week, when early voting is from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For the first time, early voting will be available Saturday, Oct. 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Courthouse Annex as well as Town Hall in Oak Creek and the Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall in Hayden.

“I’m hoping (early voting) will increase the turnout, and it will make it more convenient for people,” Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said.

Voters must take at least one form of accepted identification, which include a driver’s license, a current utility bill, a bank statement with a Routt County address or – new this year – a student ID.

Weinland said she usually predicts voter turnout by the number of applications received for mail-in ballots. In 2005, there were 375 applications. This year, there were about 2,000.

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“I think that people that got stuck in those horrendous lines last election are not going to let it happen again, but I also think we’ve done some work – we mailed out mail-in ballot applications to every registered voter,” Weinland said.

“Just the knowledge that it’s an option is in part why people are choosing that option to vote,” she said about mail-in ballots. “When they realize that they can vote in the comfort of their home when it’s convenient, it will become more and more popular.”

Mail-in ballot applications also now include an option to be put on a permanent mail-in list to automatically receive ballots for every election.

Voters interested in mail-in voting can request an absentee ballot through Nov. 2. For more information, call the Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 870-5556.