By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
Moffat County voters will be able to begin early voting on Monday.
The County Clerk's office in the Courthouse will allow any registered voter to vote from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. There is no paperwork or application to fill out ahead of time, a voter can simply go to the Clerk's office, ask to vote, and once their registration is confirmed, they can vote, said Lyla Herod, Moffat County election supervisor.
"Any registered voter can come to our office, and we'll assign them a ballot," Herod said. "The booth will be in back of the office, and the voter will place their ballot right into the ballot box."
Early voting will be open until 4 p.m. on Nov. 2. Voter registration closed Oct. 9.
Another system of voting is also available, and has been since January. Absentee voting is ongoing, and absentee ballots will be accepted until 7 p.m. on Nov. 6. If a ballot is received after that, the voter will get credit for voting so as not to be considered an inactive voter but the ballot's actual votes will not be counted, in accordance with the state statutes, Herod said.
Any registered voter can apply for an absentee ballot from the clerk's office by fax, mail or in person. Any type of written notice will be accepted until Nov. 2. The Clerk's office has 72 hours to respond by sending a ballot once an application for absentee voting has been received."An application can be any kind of written request," Herod said. "It has to have the person's name, birth date and the location of where they want the ballot sent the more information the better, but those are absolutely essential."
Relatives within an immediate family can apply for an absentee ballot for one another.
"A parent can apply for a family member, or a son or daughter can apply for an elderly relative," Herod said.
Once a new year begins, applications for absentee ballots are accepted, and kept on file until that year's ballot is established. The handicapped, elderly and hunters make up a significant portion of absentee voters in Moffat County. The Clerk's office has a file of regular absentee voters, and confirm their absentee status each year, usually by phone, Herod said.
Combined districts that force voters to travel long distances, such as Hamilton and Brown's Park, will receive an absentee voter application in the mail, along with a notice that voters in those districts are in a combined district, and will need to travel to Craig and Maybell to vote, respectively.
Early and absentee voting now account for about one-third of total votes in Moffat County, which is also the state average, Herod said.
"There is definitely a trend toward absentee and early voting," said Beverly Johnson, Moffat County Clerk. "Colorado did a mail ballot in '93, and got one of its highest [voter] responses. It is a more expensive system, but it's probably the way it will go [in the future]."
An initiative to change the election laws so mail ballots could be used for all elections failed last year in the state legislature. Another similar initiative is being done in this year, Johnson said.
As the law is written now, mail ballots can only be used for off-year elections that do not have partisan candidate based elections.