Voter turnout reaches record high | CraigDailyPress.com

Voter turnout reaches record high

Bridget Manley

By the numbers

Moffat County unofficial election turnout

• 2008: 5,857*

• 2006: 4,290

• 2004: 5,771

*Does not include provisional ballots

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Source: Moffat County Clerk

and Recorder’s office

Recently updated data shows a record number of Moffat County voters turned out for the 2008 general election.

As of Wednesday, 5,857 voters participated in early voting, sent mail-in ballots or cast ballots at vote centers Tuesday, according to County Clerk and Recorder records.

Totals reported Wednesday did not include ballots cast in Maybell and Dinosaur, which were not received in Craig by press time Tuesday.

This year’s voter count tops that of the 2006 and 2004 elections by 1,567 and 86, respectively.

And Lila Herod, who has been Moffat County chief deputy clerk and recorder for six years, said she doesn’t recall ever seeing more local voters turn out for an election.

She credited voter buy-in for this year’s swell of voters.

“I think people really took an interest in this election,” she said.

She added that important issues, including the economy, could have brought voters to the polls.

“People care,” Herod said. “People want to have a say-so in what happens. That’s great to see some of the voter apathy go away.”

Herod hopes high voter numbers continue in future elections.

Still, 2008 turnout didn’t meet her expectations.

This year, 53 percent of active registered Moffat County voters participated in early and mail-in voting.

“That was just extreme,” she said, adding that nearly 4,000 voters, or the highest number on record, participated in either early or mail-in voting.

Based on those numbers, Herod anticipated 6,000 or more voters would cast ballots this year.

The numbers, however, almost declined 150 voters short of that.

In hindsight, Herod said she thought her expectation could have been overly optimistic.

“I guess that was a lot, asking 2,000 people to come out on Election Day,” she said.

Still, the voter count isn’t complete.

Wednesday’s updated number doesn’t include provisional ballots, or those given to people whose registration status or vote validity came into question on Election Day.

Herod estimated that about 75 provisional ballots remain for Clerk and Recorder’s staff to examine. Because these ballots must be researched to determine if they are valid, provisional ballots are counted last.

An official voter count still is pending until a canvass, scheduled for Nov. 12, verifies Wednesday’s numbers.

By the numbers

Moffat County unofficial election turnout

• 2008: 5,857*

• 2006: 4,290

• 2004: 5,771

*Does not include provisional ballots

Source: Moffat County Clerk

and Recorder’s office