MCHS students assist with Tuesday’s election
Just a few days before her 18th birthday, Kaci Meek was disappointed she wasn’t yet old enough to vote in Tuesday’s general election.
But, the Moffat County High School senior got the next best thing on Election Day: a first-hand glimpse at what she’ll be experiencing in November 2011.
Meek was one of a half-dozen MCHS students who worked at the Craig voting center Tuesday.
The students spent the day at Centennial Mall checking voter registration, distributing ballots and helping voters navigate their way through crowds.
Junior Kadi Scott said voter turnout Tuesday was busiest in the early morning and late afternoon.
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“There were a lot of people, and it was just off and on,” she said.
Scott spent most of her time as a greeter, directing voters to the appropriate tables and electronic voting booths. She also worked on the computer, verifying identification and registration status.
“It’s interesting how many people you see come in,” she said. “It’s great because we need a good turnout.”
Stephanie Beckett, Moffat County elections supervisor, said the high school judges were “amazing.”
“Most of them had worked in the primary, and they all caught on quick,” she said. “I hadn’t worked with them before, since this was my first year as elections supervisor, but they did outstanding.”
Beckett said she was pleased with how the students handled the large crowds, which amounted to about 1,633 voters who came through the mall throughout the day.
She was even more impressed with how the students responded when the Statewide Colorado Registration & Election system crashed minutes before the polls closed.
“They were right there, helping out,” Beckett said. “I don’t remember being that outgoing at that age.”
Beckett said that for high school students to participate as election judges, they must be a junior or senior and have good academic standing.
Being part of the student council helps, too.
Student council president Slade Gurr, secretary Becca Pugh and vice president Meek, all seniors, were spread out across the voting area.
Gurr worked registration, Pugh directed people to electronic booths and Meek provided paper ballots to county voters who lived outside city limits.
Meek, who also worked as a judge in the August primary, said the job was one 13-hour shift, starting at about 6 a.m. and going past 7 p.m.
“It’s tiring, it’s exhausting, but it’s definitely rewarding,” she said. “It’s a good way to spend the day.”
Meek said she wanted to participate in the election in some way, even though she was days away from voting age. Learning about the process from her parents and three older sisters has gotten her interested in future elections.
“I like to be involved,” she said. “It’s cool to see all the people come out to vote and seeing their feelings about everything, and knowing that you’ve helped them.”
Meek worked alongside fellow election judge Colleen Snow for most of the day. Snow has been an election judge every November since 2007.
“Kaci is one of the most informed people here about the electoral process, she’s really done a good job,” Snow said.
Snow said she was excited to see involvement from high school students because they will soon be voting, themselves.
“It teaches them about how the system works and how voters can swing an election and make a difference,” she said. “Kids need to learn the importance of elections on the local level, because that’s where it will affect you.”
Snow added voter turnout Tuesday was the most she’d ever seen.
“I wish everyone was this involved all the time,” she said.
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Craig Middle School staff will continue to wear masks this week, and two other schools in the district are close to doing the same, according to numbers from the Moffat County School District’s COVID-19 dashboard.