Early voting ends with higher than expected turnout | CraigDailyPress.com

Early voting ends with higher than expected turnout

About 1,700 ballots cast early in race to decide two tax proposals

Joshua Roberts

— One group – proponents or opponents – are leading in the race to decide whether Moffat County gets new and revitalized schools and a new hospital.

Early voting for next week’s pivotal tax initiative-based election ended Friday afternoon with a higher than expected turnout, the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder’s Office reported.

Just under 1,700 Moffat County voters exercised their civic duty through either early or absentee ballots. The latest turnout number, obtained just before the 4:45 p.m. deadline Friday, was 1,690 voters, about 700 voters more than what county election officials predicted would turn out.

Results from the early/absentee ballots won’t be tabulated until Tuesday.

“I was only thinking about a 1,000” voters, said Lila Herod, chief deputy for the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, who based her estimate on a 3,000-voter total turnout. “Typically in an odd year, it’s a little bit lower of a turnout.”

Recent off-year elections have generated between 1,600 to 3,300 total ballots.

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On Tuesday, the remaining Moffat County voting public will decide the fate of two tax proposals totaling $72.1 million in new construction.

The Moffat County School District is asking voters to approve 3A, a 20-year, $29.5 million bond issue, which would pay for a new Craig Middle School, and significant renovations to Craig Intermediate School and all elementary schools, as well as repaving the Moffat County High School parking lot.

The Memorial Hospital’s 1A proposes a 3-mill tax package that would generate $1.5 million a year for the next 40 years for a new, $42.6 million hospital. The new hospital would encompass 84,475 square feet.

Friday’s total eclipsed that of the November 2005 early voting ballots, which numbered at 1,414. The total turnout that year was 3,312, according to county figures.

There are 8,045 registered voters in Moffat County, but the Clerk and Recorder’s Office considers a portion of that total, 5,489 voters, “active.”

Totals from Tuesday’s election should be tallied by 8 p.m. from Craig voters, and an hour or so later on ballots from Maybell and Dinosaur, Herod said.

“I think it’ll be before 8 (p.m.), but we’ll have to wait for Dinosaur and Maybell,” she said.

The Clerk and Recorder’s Office will be closed Tuesday. All staffers will be spending the day working as election judges, Herod said.

Election Day

Election Day is Tuesday. Voting hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Federal law requires voters to present identification at the polls. Results from Tuesday’s election will be posted immediately on the Daily Press Web site, http://www.craigdailypre…, after they are finalized.