Primary Election voter turnout low in Moffat County
June 21, 2018
CRAIG — Voting is underway in the 2018 Colorado Primary Election, but turnout for the all-mail ballot has been low so far, according to Moffat County election officials.
"It's going pretty smoothly. We are dealing with a lot of new processes. It's taking a little more time than a typical election," said Moffat County Clerk and Recorders Office Chief Deputy Amanda Tomlinson.
This is the first primary election in which unaffiliated voters have been allowed to automatically participate, triggering the need for new processes to verify and correctly count ballots.
Among Moffat County’s 7,632 active registered voters, 1,804 ballots had been cast as of 4 p.m. Thursday, June 21. Of those, 189 ballots were cast by Democrats, 1286 by Republicans and 329 by unaffiliated voters.
"This puts us at roughly 23 percent of voters. I think 23 percent isn't that bad for a primary, but I was hopeful that including unaffiliated voters would drive that number higher. It hasn't done that," Tomlinson said.
Statewide, as of Thursday morning, 538,738 Coloradans had returned ballots for the primary election, according to Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. Williams reported that 207,881 ballots were cast by Democrats, 207,955 by Republicans and 122,902 by unaffiliated voters.
Unaffiliated voters who expressed a preference for a Republican or Democratic ballot were sent that party’s ballot, but those who did not were sent both ballots with a caveat: "Only vote one. If you vote both, neither ballot will count," Williams said.
In Moffat County, 2,483 registered voters received unaffiliated voter packets. Of the 329 returned so far, eight have been rejected because the voter completed more than one ballot, returned two ballots, did not sign the back of the envelope or had a signature discrepancy.
Under Colorado election law, voters who return more than one ballot will not have their votes counted, nor will they be given the opportunity to correct the error.
The elections office is attempting to contact voters to correct unsigned ballots and ballots submitted with a signature discrepancy, so those ballots can be counted.
For the estimated 75 percent of Moffat County yet to vote, it is too late to receive a ballot by mail or change affiliation, but it is not too late to participate.
Through Election Day, voters can continue to:
• Vote in person or drop off a ballot.
• Use accessible voting equipment.
• Register or update voter registration online or in person. Those registering online must visit the voter center to collect a ballot.
• Receive a replacement ballot.
All ballots must be cast by 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 26. Ballots may be mailed, dropped off or cast in person at the voter service and polling center in the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way, Craig.
Election hours are as follows.
• 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. June 18 through June 22
• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 23
• 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. June 25
• 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 26
A 24 hours drop-box is available on the east side of the courthouse.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.