Voters swarm to election in Routt County |

Voters swarm to election in Routt County

It was a busy scene inside the Voter Service and Polling Center at the annex of the Routt County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday was the last day to cast your votes in this year's mail-in election. Some people in the annex were looking for replacement ballots, figuring out registration questions or simply wanted to vote in person.
John F. Russell

Routt County midterm voters

2014: 10,581

2010: 9,090

2006: 7,960

2002: 7,652

How Routt County voted in statewide races and ballot issues

United State Senator

Mark Udall 53.9%, 5,582 votes

Cory Gardner 41.2%, 4,101 votes

U.S. Congress District 3

Scott Tipton 50%, 4,817 votes

Abel Tapia 44.5%, 4.287 votes

Governor/Lieutenant Governor

Bob Beauprez/Jill Repella 38.5%, 3,843 votes

John Hickenlooper/Joe Garcia 57.9%, 5,779 votes

Secretary of State

Joe Neguse 51%, 4,774 votes

Wayne Williams 42.1%, 3,936 votes

State Treasurer

Walker Stapleton 44.9%, 4,183 votes

Betsy Markey 50.2%, 4,676 votes

Attorney General

Don Quick 47.2%, 4,376 votes

Cynthia Coffman 47%, 4,352 votes

State Board of Education, District 3

Henry C. Roman 50.6%, 4,411 votes

Marcia Neal 49.4%, 4,302 votes

Proposition 104: Board of Education open meetings

Yes 65.1%, 6,207 votes

No 34.7%, 3,322 votes

Proposition 105: GMO labeling

Yes 40.1%, 3,963 votes

No 59.9%, 5,929 votes

Amendment 67: Personhood

Yes 22.6%, 2,203 votes

No 77.4%, 7,544 votes

Amendment 68: Racetrack gambling

Yes 26%, 2,203 votes

No 74%, 7,295

— The 2014 election was (almost) entirely mail in, and by the time Election Day dawned, nearly 75 percent of the 10,581 voters who would vote had made their choices and submitted their ballots.

Still, the morning and afternoon were busy with a steady stream filing into the Voter Service and Polling Center in Steamboat Springs, reporting lost ballots or ballots that never arrived in the mail.

None of that fazed Kay Weinland, Routt County clerk of 20 years.

“It went very smooth,” she said. “We had an awesome turnout, which I always love.”

This miderm election likely drew more Routt County voters than any such midterm election ever has.

The 10,581 votes counted Tuesday night were down from the 13,420 in 2012, a year bolstered by a presidential election. It was up compared to the 9,090 who cast ballots in 2010 and up compared to the 8,000 who voted in 2006 and the 7,650 who voted in 2002.

In 2002, the county voted heavily for Republicans in three major races.

Plenty has changed in Routt County, however, and this year, it continued a trend of heavily supporting Democrats, 53 to 41 percent in the U.S. Senate race between Mark Udall and Cory Gardner, 61 to 33 percent behind John Hickenlooper for governor and 56 to 41 percent to keep Diane Mitsch Bush as the local District 26 representative in the Colorado House.

There was one larger race that went against that tide — the fight for Colorado’s 3rd District for the U.S. House, as Republican incumbent Scott Tipton carried Routt for the first time in three tries.

There were also smaller races that went Republican, including Brita Horn for county treasurer and Rob Ryg for county coroner.

Weinland said none of those results meant a lot to her, at least not as the hours ticked away Tuesday night.

On Tuesday, it was about getting the work done.

Workers traded stories as they went into the night.

One year, a man showed up at 7:03 p.m. and was angry that he wasn’t allowed to vote.

Another year, the cops had to be called in a similar situation.

About 1 percent of ballots come in without a signature. The voter is notified by mail and has eight days to rectify the problem, but most never do.

One person a few elections ago, apparently with a bit too much old mail sitting around the house, submitted a ballot for the previous year’s election.

It was not counted.

Tuesday was a Steamboat election. With 30 minutes remaining before the 7 p.m. deadline, a cyclist glided up to the outside dropbox to deposit one vote. Two voters strolled in to vote 15 minutes ahead of the deadline with a dog at their side.

At 6:53 p.m., one of the final voters, panting, rushed through the door, and as the final moments ticked away — everything suddenly quiet and peaceful — election staffers debated whether they should lock up when their cellphones or their computers said 7 p.m.

The day’s final vote went to “computer.”

The fun wasn’t over. It took four more hours of tabulating for the county to publish its preliminary results, and work — potentially critical work, as at least one race is incredibly close — awaits Wednesday.

Weinland is retiring, and this was her final election. At 10:32 p.m., it was over.

“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “I’m relieved, but I have a lump in my throat.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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