Early voting available to Moffat County residents
Beckett: turnout lower than expected, hoping for more awareness
August 4, 2010
Early electronic voting in Moffat County is available from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. through Friday at the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way. Residents must bring proper photo identification. Four voting centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Moffat County. Any Moffat County resident may vote at any of the county’s voting centers.
Voting centers in Moffat County:
• Centennial Mall, 1111 W. Victory Way;
• Hamilton Community Center, 17400 S. Colorado Highway 13;
• Maybell Community Center, 103 Ellis St.
• Dinosaur Library, 400 W. School St.
Moffat County elections supervisor Stephanie Beckett said she expected early voting week for the primary election to be hectic in her office at the Moffat County Courthouse.
But, Beckett said her office hasn't been very busy after all.
"I think a lot of (voters) are not aware that they could vote early in August," she said.
Beckett said early voting activity should pick up throughout the week.
"More people are realizing they need to get in and do this just by word of mouth," she said. "So, I do think it will get better. I hope."
Early voting for the primary elections began Monday and will continue through Friday. Residents can vote early at the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way, from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Voters must bring proper photo identification to use the electronic voting machine.
Beckett said 73 people voted early on Monday and 54 people voted early on Tuesday. Beckett expects a total of about 500 people to vote early, she said.
"If you would have asked me last week, I would have said more," said Beckett referring to the low turnout of voters.
Beckett is currently in the process of receiving the 1,480 mail-in ballots that were requested by Moffat County voters. As of Monday, she had received and processed about 577 mail-in ballots, she said.
Former county elections supervisor Lila Herod said in years past, about one-third of county voters chose early voting or mail-in ballots.
"I think with the mail ballot, early voting and election day, there sure shouldn't be any excuses that people don't vote," she said. "We have made it pretty easy."
Herod said about 1,000 people usually vote early, but that number varies depending on the election and the candidates, she said.
"I tend to see the same early voters year after year," she said. "I think they know they can come in and vote early … They know they are going to be up there doing business and they like to vote early."
Mail-in voting is also becoming more popular, Herod said, because voters can "give it more thought."
"The permanent mail ballot is really getting popular, even statewide," she said. "I just think it is convenient. You are not just limited to one day you can vote, and its convenient to drop it back or mail it back."
But some voters, Herod contends, just enjoy voting on election day, she said.
"And then you have some of those people that are die hard, 'I'm going to the polls,'" she said. "It's a social thing for them, and they enjoy that."
John Ponikvar, Moffat County Republican Central Committee chairman, said he expects good voter turnout as well.
"I think we've got some really good candidates … and they all have pretty good support," he said. "I think just between just the quality of candidates and the people they know, yeah, I think we should have a really good turnout this time."
Ponikvar said both the primary and the general elections should draw larger numbers of voters considering the "big races" on the Nov. 2 ballot.
"I think we will still have some real prominent elections for our national and our state offices so I think people will still get out," he said.
Residents can drop off mail-in ballots at the four polling places in Moffat County for the first time this year, Beckett said.
All ballots must be returned to a polling place by 7 p.m. Tuesday.
There are four voting centers in Moffat County open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election days. They are at Centennial Mall, 1111 W. Victory Way, Craig; Hamilton Community Center, 17400 S. Colorado Highway 13, Hamilton; Maybell Community Center, 103 Ellis St., Maybell; and the Dinosaur Library, 400 W. School St., Dinosaur.
Any Moffat County resident may vote at any of the county's voting centers.
For more information, call the Moffat County election office at 824-9104.