With a quarter of the votes in, Moffat County aims for 40-percent turnout | CraigDailyPress.com

With a quarter of the votes in, Moffat County aims for 40-percent turnout

CRAIG — With Election Day less than a week away, a quarter of active Moffat County voters have already weighed in on proposed tax increases and several school board seats on this year's ballot.

As of Thursday morning, 2,050 of the 7,561 ballots mailed to active Moffat County voters had been returned, said Deputy Election Clerk Amanda Tomlinson. An estimated two-thirds of the votes thus far have been cast by registered Republicans, compared to 20 percent from unaffiliated voters and 13.5 percent from Democrats.

The county is home to 9,633 registered voters, however voters become inactive if they haven't voted in several elections or updated their addresses.

The most recent odd-year election in 2015 saw a voter turnout of 3,295, about half of active voters, or 35 percent of registered voters, according to Moffat County Clerk and Recorder Lila Herod.

"We'll get close to probably 20 percent (of voters) that will come in on Election Day," Herod said.

Last year's presidential election saw a turnout of 6,625 voters, twich the number of voters from the 2015 local election. However, turnout is always lower in odd years, Tomlinson said.

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"Forty percent (turnout) is usually all anyone hopes for," she said. "That's what we're hoping for this time, but we have a long way to go."

A total of 4,841 ballots were mailed this year to Craig residents, who will choose whether to support a 1.75-percent sales tax increase for the city.

Moffat County made the switch this year to a new statewide voting system known as Dominion Voting Systems, which was first tested during the smaller city of Craig election in the spring.

"It's much more user-friendly for those people that want to vote in person," Tomlinson said. "It's less time consuming, and they are all touch screen now. The accessible equipment (for hearing and vision impaired) is much more 21st century than what we had before."

The new system also allows for faster counting and reporting.

"All counties are moving toward this system, so that will create a whole lot more consistent process throughout the state," Herod said.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1795 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.

Get out the vote

Those who still need to return ballots can avoid snail mail and drop them off at the 24-hour dropbox near the east entrance to the Moffat County Courthouse or in a dropbox inside by the elections office.

For those who prefer to cast their vote in person, the voting booths will be open from 8 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. at the courthouse Friday and Monday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Voting will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Election Day.