Time to cast a ballot | SteamboatToday.com

Time to cast a ballot

Sheriff's primary first election with new machines

The primary election is Tuesday. Ballots can be cast from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following polling locations:

  • North Routt Community Charter School in Clark
  • Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall in Hayden
  • Steamboat Pilot & Today conference room
  • Routt County Courthouse Annex
  • Yampa Valley Medical Center conference room
  • Fairfield Inn conference room
  • Oak Creek Town Hall
  • Yampa Town Hall

Voters can cast a ballot at the polling center most convenient for them.

Deadlines have passed for registering to vote in the primary election and for requesting an absentee ballot to be mailed to a voter's residence.

For more information, visit the Clerk and Recorder link at http://www.co.routt.co.us, or call the Routt County Clerk and Recorder's Office at 870-5556.

— Win or lose, Routt County sheriff candidates Ray Birch and Garrett Wiggins likely will sleep well Tuesday night.

Barring an extraordinarily close vote, the two Republicans squaring off in the only contested primary race in Routt County will not face a night of tossing and turning, wondering about the election’s outcome.

Thanks to new, computerized voting machines, Birch and Wiggins should know the results soon after polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The machines store votes on memory cards, which will be returned to the Routt County Courthouse after polls close and inserted into a computer that will load and tabulate the data. Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said the new process should drastically decrease the time it takes to count ballots.

“It’s going to be a flash,” Weinland said Friday. “It’s really amazing how quickly it loads. That’s one of the features I’m really looking forward to — not being up all night on election night.”

Primary election voters likely will experience less stress as well. Because the primary is countywide and voter information is stored via computer, registered voters can access their ballot and vote at any of eight polling locations in the county.

“If you live in South Routt and are building a house in Clark, you can vote on your lunch break,” elections supervisor Vicki Weber said Friday. “Anyone can vote anywhere in the county.”

The Hart InterCivic voting machines allow voters to select a candidate by scrolling through a list, highlighting their choice and pushing a button.

An audio headset provides assistance to the visually impaired. After completing their ballot, voters can go back to change a selection or approve a printout of their choices.

The printed ballots are preserved in the machine as an official record of the vote and will be used in the event of an extremely close tally or recount, Weinland said.

July 10 was the deadline for voters registered as Democrats or Republicans to change their party affiliation. Weber said voters registered as “unaffiliated” can vote Tuesday by affiliating with a party at a polling location.

The new machines could provide an incentive for county voters to get to the polls, particularly in an election where Birch or Wiggins is the only choice — and that choice is limited to Republicans.

Although Democrats have no contested options on their ballot, Lynn Abbott, secretary of the county Democratic Party, said a good turnout at the polls is still important for local Democrats.

Weber said 327 people voted early in Routt County.

“That’s a very good number for a year with just one contested race,” she said Friday.

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