Dick Pearce, 71, a Moffat County resident, casts his vote Tuesday at the Moffat County Courthouse. Two weeks of early voting began Monday. So far, 98 residents have voted early. Early voting polls are open from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. until Oct. 29 at the courthouse, 221. W. Victory Way.

Photo by Brian Smith

Dick Pearce, 71, a Moffat County resident, casts his vote Tuesday at the Moffat County Courthouse. Two weeks of early voting began Monday. So far, 98 residents have voted early. Early voting polls are open from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. until Oct. 29 at the courthouse, 221. W. Victory Way.

Early voting begins in Moffat County

Activity in the Moffat County Courthouse is heating up, as early voting began Monday.

Moffat County Elections Supervisor Stephanie Beckett said her office has seen increased activity in the last several weeks, with county residents inquiring when they could start voting early for the Nov. 2 general election, or when their mail ballots would arrive.

Beckett said the department’s recent activity could be an indication that residents are eager to cast their ballots, she said.

“Yeah, they were ready, I guess,” Beckett said, with a laugh. “It seems early, but it’s not — two weeks.”

Residents may vote by either paper or electronic ballot at the courthouse through Oct. 29. The polls are open from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., and residents will need photo identification to vote.

Since Monday, 98 residents have voted early, Beckett said.

The elections department is still in the process of sending out mail ballots. Residents may request a mail ballot up to Oct. 26, Beckett said.

So far, the department has mailed out 2,093 ballots and received 274 as of Tuesday. Mail ballots may also be returned to the elections department by hand at the courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way.

Beckett said many residents find early voting to be more convenient, especially those residents who live in rural parts of the county, or those unable to vote in person Nov. 2.

Although Beckett said she was unsure about how many residents would vote at the courthouse early, she said she thinks there will be more than the August primary election, considering the option is available for two more weeks.

Beckett said she is “amazed” at how many people are requesting a mail ballot, even though a large number of residents still prefer to vote in person.

“It is like tradition, or the way that they have always done it,” she said of voting in person. “The mail-in seems (to be) the more modern way now to vote, but there are still quite a few people that enjoy coming in to vote in person.”

Beckett said another indication residents may be eager to vote is that some are returning their mail ballots the same day they received them.

Moreover, she said it seems like residents are generally familiar with the candidates, issues, amendments and propositions presented on the ballot.

Currently, there are 8,896 registered voters in the county, Beckett said. Of those voters, 4,650 are registered Republicans, 1,386 are Democrats, 2,822 are unaffiliated and 38 belong to other parties.

Beckett said 4,258 residents voted in the August primary. Of those voters, 455 voted early and 1,046 voted by mail ballot.

In the 2008 general election, 5,912 residents voted. Of those residents, 1,800 voted early and 2,197 voted by mail ballot, Beckett said.

Beckett is doubtful, however, the November election total will surpass the 2008 election, considering it was a presidential election.

But, she is hopeful residents will choose one of the many ways offered to vote.

Beckett also wants to remind residents it is a “right and privilege to get to come in and vote.”

On Nov. 2, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are four voting centers in Moffat County.

They are at Centennial Mall, 1111 W. Victory Way in Craig; Hamilton Community Center, 17400 S. Colorado Highway 13; Maybell Community Center, 103 Ellis St.; and the Dinosaur branch of the Moffat County Libraries, 400 W. School St.

Any Moffat County resident may vote at any of the county’s voting centers, but must have photo identification to vote.

For more information, call the elections department at 824-9120. Residents may also visit the Colorado Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/main.html for more information.

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