High turnout for early voting | CraigDailyPress.com

High turnout for early voting

Two days into early voting, more than 250 Moffat County residents have shown up at the polls.

If the trend continues, the November 2005 election will be on pace to match turnout during a presidential election year, Moffat County Election Official Lila Herod said.

Turnout for the 2004 general election was 5,720 — 66 percent of registered voters.

Early voting began Monday, and Herod said a steady stream of people have stopped by her new office. Herod was moved into a room to the left of the Clerk and Recorder’s Office. Early voting was a primary reason for the change. Instead of weaving their way through desks at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office and voting in booths set up along the countertop, early voters now have space and privacy and a quiet place to think.

Not that many need time to think.

“It’s not taking people very long, so they obviously know what they’re going to do,” Herod said.

Maybell resident Dan Man-ley said he got background on the issues from the state-issued blue book, but he planned to read the questions word for word before marking the “yes” or “no” box anyway.

Manley stopped by Herod’s office Tuesday to vote early. He always votes and generally does it the day of the election, but this year he is scheduled to have surgery.

“I haven’t missed voting in an election for as long as I can remember,” he said.

There are four questions on the November ballot. Referendum 1A is the county’s request to keep all the revenues it collects for the next five years instead of returning most of them to taxpayers as required by a 1913 law limiting county revenue growth to 5.5 percent a year. Referendum 1B asks taxpayers to designate one mill each year to Horizons Specialized Services to support its programs. One mill would raise about $350,000.

Referendums C and D are the state Legislature’s answer to the budget limitations put in place by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. Referendum C, like the county’s request, would allow the state to keep the revenue it collects beyond the TABOR growth limits. It would be in effect for five years. Referendum D would allow the state to issue bonds against the revenues generated by Referendum C.

Before the polls opened, election officials did a test scan. One person from the Republican Party and one person from the Democratic Party filled out 25 ballots, and Herod filled out 25. Each stack was scanned and then the stack of 75 was put through the tallying machine.

The results were perfect, Herod said.

“‘Dan the scanner’ did fabulous,” she said.

The machine was nicknamed Dan several years ago after the man who was responsible for its maintenance.

There are 8,175 Moffat County voters registered for the Nov. 2 election. There wasn’t a big rush to register before the Oct. 3 deadline, Herod said.

Early voting closes Oct. 28.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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