Early voting surges

County's 3,000th voter casts ballot

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At 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, Lisa Sperl walked into the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder's Office ready to vote.

She probably didn't expect the cheering and hoopla that accompanied her entrance. Or the Caramello chocolate bar.

Sperl was the county's 3,000th voter in the 2004 general election, which not only beats the total voter turnout for the August primary election, it also breaks the county's record for early voter turnout.

"I am so tired," Moffat County Deputy Clerk and Recorder Lila Herod said.

Early voting closes at 5 p.m. today and the next chance for voters tocast ballots is at the polls Tuesday.

There are 8,755 registered voters in Moffat County. Of those, 2,704 made it to the polls in August.

The deluge of early voters has rocked the clerk's office.

Herod has handled so many identification checks and handed out so many ballots that she's having nightmares about the process.

One night she awoke with a start, ready to prepare an absentee ballot and asking her daughter, "Is that dog still there?"

She had a dream that someone had dropped off a dog in exchange for an absentee ballot.

Herod can't even guess the amount of hours she and several others put into preparing for an election, but knows the process has wormed its way into her subconscious.

"It's pretty stressful," she said.

The process voters will undergo Nov. 2 is the culmination of the 11 months of work that only gets harder the closer the election gets.

"It's been busy," said Sally Anderson with the clerk's office. "It's an exciting process, but we're glad it happens only once every four years."

The office gets all types of questions, with most about the absentee voting process or whether a person is registered to vote.

One person, Herod said, came to the polls with a mission.

"I just wanted to fire everyone," he told election officials.

Because of the large number of absentee ballots anticipated, Herod said signature verification will begin Wednesday and absentee judges will start flattening the ballots in preparation for election night.

The ballots will be run beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, but the results of that precinct won't be available until polls close at 7 p.m.

Even though the results of what likely will be the biggest precinct -- early and absentee -- being reported early, it will be a late night for Clerk and Recorder's Office personnel.

"If we're done by midnight, it'll be awesome," Herod said.

"That's what I'm shooting for."

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