Stephanie Beckett, right, Moffat County deputy clerk, helps Craig resident Dennis Seely prepare for early voting Monday afternoon at the County Clerk and Recorder's Office in the Moffat County Courthouse. As of Monday, the first day of early voting, more than 106 voters had come in to cast their ballots for the general election.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Stephanie Beckett, right, Moffat County deputy clerk, helps Craig resident Dennis Seely prepare for early voting Monday afternoon at the County Clerk and Recorder's Office in the Moffat County Courthouse. As of Monday, the first day of early voting, more than 106 voters had come in to cast their ballots for the general election.

Ahead of the crowd

At least 1,500 early voters expected to turn out for general election

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/

At a glance

• Early voting for the Nov. 4 general election began Monday.

• Voters can cast ballots at Moffat County Clerk and Recorder's Office at the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way between 8 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• Mail-in ballots also will be sent to voters who request them by Oct. 28 or pick them up at the courthouse by Oct. 31.

• Early voting to continue through Oct. 31.

• Mail-in ballots received after 7 p.m. Nov. 4 will not be counted.

• For more information, call the County Clerk and Recorder's Office at 824-9104.

Colleen Snow stood with pen in hand, pondering her answers.

But, she didn't have to think long.

On Monday, Snow visited the Moffat County Courthouse to take advantage of the first day of early voting for the Nov. 4 general election.

She moved quickly through the two front-and-back pages of the election ballot, referring to her "cheat sheet," or her list of "yea" or "nay" answers for each ballot item.

Snow found out about early voting while she was serving as an election judge for the August primary election. She had one reason for trying out the process this year.

"I'm voting early to avoid the Nov. (4) lines," she said.

Chief Deputy Clerk Lila Herod anticipates that other Moffat County voters will have the same idea this year.

Herod said she expects at least 1,500 voters to turn out for the early voting period, which began Monday and will continue through Oct. 31.

If her prediction holds true, that means an average of 150 voters per day will be casting their ballots before Election Day.

The Clerk and Recorder's Office was well on its way to reaching that number on the first day of early voting.

As of Monday afternoon, more than 106 voters had cast their ballots at the courthouse.

That number doesn't include voters who had stopped by the office to pick up a mail-in ballot or requested one be sent to their homes.

Herod expected more voters to cast their ballots before closing time.

"We haven't even seen the school teachers," Herod said. "We'll be close to 200 (voters), I bet, by the end of the day."

That's a normal early voting turnout for a primary election like this one, she added.

The ways in which early voters are casting their ballots also are following past trends.

On Monday, 51 of 106 voters cast paper ballots. The remaining 55 voters used electronic voting machines set up in and around the Clerk and Recorder's office.

"That seems pretty typical," Herod said.

Paper ballot booths and electronic voting machines will be open to registered voters from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday through Oct. 31.

Voters who don't want to cast their ballots at the courthouse can obtain a mail-in ballot either by picking one up at the Clerk and Recorder's Office or requesting one be sent to them. In the latter case, requests must be made by Oct. 28.

Mail-in ballots will be available at the Clerk and Recorder's Office through Oct. 31.

All ballots, including those postmarked on Election Day, must be received by 7 p.m. Nov. 4. Although voters aren't required to mark an answer for each ballot question, they must send both pages of the mail-in ballot, along with their signed and dated voter affidavit.

Snow, for one, didn't regret casting her vote early.

"It was nice," she said. "It was totally relaxing."

For more information about early voting, visit the Clerk and Recorder's Office at the courthouse or call the office at 824-9104.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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