New voting off and running
Steamboat Springs — When voting officials began explaining Routt County’s new voting system to Steamboat Springs resident Shauna Duran on Tuesday afternoon, she couldn’t help but feel a little nervous.
“When I first walked in and they were giving the directions, I was concerned,” she said.
Duran, who cast her primary ballot at the Steamboat Pilot & Today conference room, said she was shocked by how easy the new system is.
“Everything I needed to do was right there in front of me on a screen,” she said.
The Pilot & Today conference room was one of eight vote center locations set up throughout Routt County on Tuesday. Duran voted there because it was close to her job.
“Having so many places (to vote) is definitely more convenient. This is a great thing for the county,” she said.
Routt County Clerk & Recorder Kay Weinland said having the vote center locations were the main conveniences with the new system.
“We went from having precincts to having vote center locations, which is huge. However, along with that, we had to go electronic, which is also huge,” she said.
Residents used to have to vote at their precinct polling places. Under the new system, residents can vote at any voting center location regardless of residence, which makes voting easy for commuters, Weinland said.
The new system allows voters to correct their ballots before they are cast. Also, collecting the ballots and counting them is now easier for judges, because everything is electronic, she said.
Early voting results were posted on the Clerk and Recorder’s Web site around 7:15 p.m.
The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the new system, which includes about 30 voting machines, earlier this year.
Though Tuesday’s new voting was a success in Weinland’s eyes, there were a few minor glitches.
One of the memory sticks used to transmit the votes wasn’t working at the vote center location in Yampa, and staff had to drive a new memory stick to Yampa through the Colorado Highway 131 construction, which slowed voting in Yampa.
The vote center locations, which technically opened at 7 a.m., were not running until about 7:15 a.m. because the Clerk and Recorder’s Office could not access the system.
Weinland said voter turnout was relatively light – primaries typically don’t bring out a lot of voters.
Yampa supply judge Helen Rudeen said Tuesday’s turnout was “real slow,” and that only 36 people had voted by 3 p.m.
However, those who did try out the new system liked it, she said.
“Most of the group was kind of intimidated to get started, but then they began to say, ‘Geez, that was real easy and fun,'” she said.
Steamboat Springs election official Millie Beall, who worked at the Pilot & Today, said turnout was better there. By 3 p.m., nearly 90 people had hit her polling place to cast a vote.
“It was a good thing,” she said. “I think everyone had a good time. They thought it was cool.”
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