Smooth morning sailing at Centennial Mall |

Smooth morning sailing at Centennial Mall

Bridget Manley

Centennial Mall: 7 a.m.

Before the polls opened Tuesday morning, Moffat County voters already were lining up in Centennial Mall to cast their ballots.

And, as time passed, the line grew.

And grew.

And grew, until it snaked from the registration table to the door and around the opposite wall.

Elaine Sullivan, Moffat County clerk and recorder, watched the line to voting booths lengthen.

She had no misgivings about how the election would run.

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“I think it’s going to go great,” she said.

Sullivan had one concern, though: waiting time.

Lines probably weren’t going to be “horrendous,” she said, but voters may have to wait between 10 and 15 minutes to cast their votes.

Waiting time gave residents a chance to study the hefty ballot awaiting them in the Nov. 4 general election.

Centennial Mall: 8 a.m.

Sullivan sat surrounded by voting booths and equipment, looking relaxed at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Three hours after the polls opened Tuesday at Centennial Mall, the election was running smoothly, she said, bringing out cooperative voters and no major problems.

“It’s perfect,” she said.

Election Judge Judy Smith echoed her words.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” she said, adding that some judges were braced for long lines and irate voters.

That scenario, however, hadn’t played out.

As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, the 2008 general election proved to be the largest and yet smoothest-running election Sullivan said she could remember.

About 440 voters, or roughly 150 per hour, had cast their ballots since the polls opened at 7 a.m., Election Judge Jennifer Riley said.

She had one word for Tuesday’s turnout: awesome.

Centennial Mall: Noon

Voter numbers held steady during the lunch hour Tuesday as Craig polls continued to draw in an average of 150 voters per hour.

As of noon, 770 Moffat County registered voters had cast their ballots at Centennial Mall since polls opened at 7 a.m., according to election judge records.

The number of provisional ballots cast also had increased, nearly doubling since 10 a.m.

Voters cast provisional ballots when records show they are registered in another county, may have voted already, or during other circumstances in which their vote could be called into question.

“If there’s any question at all about the validity (of their vote), they vote a provisional ballot,” Riley said, adding that officials will determine if these ballots are valid when they are counted later.

At 10 a.m., 10 voters had cast provisional ballots. Two hours later, that number increased to 18.

Because provisional ballots are counted after all other votes have been tabulated, a final count may not be available until today, Sullivan said.

Still, the election hadn’t been accompanied by any major complications as of noon Tuesday.

“It’s just been so smooth,” Sullivan said.