John Ponikvar, with the Moffat County Republican Central Committee, and Walker Criswell, with Moffat County Democrats, enter pretend ballots into the county's electronic voting machines Thursday. They participated in the local public test of electronic voting equipment and found the machines counted ballots accurately in all cases.

Photo by Collin Smith

John Ponikvar, with the Moffat County Republican Central Committee, and Walker Criswell, with Moffat County Democrats, enter pretend ballots into the county's electronic voting machines Thursday. They participated in the local public test of electronic voting equipment and found the machines counted ballots accurately in all cases.

Public election test certifies voting machines

Election information

Registered voters can vote in the Nov. 4 general election in one of the following ways:

• Request a mail-in ballot. Residents may visit the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder's Office at the County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way, and request an official ballot be mailed to their home address.

Deputy Clerk Stephanie Beckett said the county had received about six mailed ballots, as of Thursday, from local voters who already voted.

• Cast a ballot during early voting from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Oct. 20 to 31 at the County Courthouse.

• Vote on election day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at one of the following vote centers:

• Centennial Mall in Craig, 1111 W. Victory Way

• Maybell Community Center, 103 Ellis

• Dinosaur Town Hall, 333 S. Stegosaurus

On the 'Net

You Decide: Election 2008

Craig Daily Press elections Web site - Moffat County's best resource for election news and resources.

www.craigdailypress.com/news/election_2008/

Moffat County's public test for the Nov. 4 general election proved successful, Lila Herod said, meaning all voting equipment works as election day draws nearer.

However, the test uncovered possible issues for the wider election, as well.

Walker Criswell and John Ponikvar participated throughout the test Thursday and Friday as public and political party representatives. They also signed off on the voting equipment.

"They determined that the machines are just fine," said Herod, chief deputy clerk for the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder's Office. "Now we're ready for an exciting election."

This year's ballot may be the largest in recent memory, as it's the first time Herod could remember that it had to be two pages long.

That could present some problems with vote counts, she cautioned. She recommended any voter marking a paper ballot - including residents who requested mail-in ballots - be sure to return both pages to the election center.

During the test, Herod's office and the two public representatives discovered they had made the same mistake of only running one page through the machines. It affected the vote count compared to the machine count, because even though there were no actual votes, it registered in the machines as an incomplete ballot.

Herod said election judges will be notified about the potential issue and instructed to set one-page ballot returns aside to avoid problems on election day.

"That is what this is all about, finding any potential problems," Herd said of the public election test.

Canceled amendments

Voters also should be aware that four of the 18 ballot amendments to the Colorado Constitution were pulled after the state printed its ballots.

Amendments 53, 55, 56 and 57 - which all were provisions for workers, such as requiring all business owners to provide health insurance for employees - were canceled after a deal struck between labor leaders and the Denver business community.

In return, the Denver business community is opposing Amendment 47, the "right to work" amendment, which would make it illegal to require an employee to pay fees to a union or other third party as a condition of employment.

Each of the four amendments still will appear on every ballot, but votes for or against them will not count. It was too late to take them off ballots because the state already printed them.

Voter registration

Moffat County could see a larger voter turnout this year than any recently, with more active voters than before. Active voters are defined as new registrants and those who voted in the last election.

In total, there are 8,560 registered voters, and about 76 percent of them, or 6,499 residents, are classified as active.

On Friday, Herod said there would be a few more as she was still entering new registrants into the system.

It remains to be seen whether the county will break from its Republican tradition. There are 3,498 registered Republicans compared to 1,109 registered Democrats.

There also are 11 Libertarians, nine Green Party members and three registered for the American Constitution Party. The other 1,869 voters are unaffiliated.

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