Last call for Routt County voters to turn in ballots
October 31, 2011
Election Day results
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Steamboat Springs — Election Day is finally here, and there's still plenty of time to vote.
Routt County's registered voters have until 7 p.m. to cast ballots, whether they received a ballot in the mail or didn't and whether their status is considered active or inactive. They just need to go to the Clerk and Recorder's Office in the Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat Springs, which opens at 7 a.m. All satellite ballot drop-off locations have been closed.
The only exception is military members and their dependents, who need to have their ballots postmarked by 7 p.m. Tuesday. All other ballots not received by 7 p.m. Tuesday will not be counted, regardless of when they were postmarked.
As of Monday morning, nearly 44 percent of the county's active voters had cast ballots. By Monday afternoon, that percentage had surged to above 50, but Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland couldn't provide an exact number because an issue with Internet service provider Verizon Wireless prevented her office from connecting with the statewide voter registration system.
The lack of Internet connectivity also affected the Clerk and Recorder's Office from verifying voter registration status, which meant that anyone wanting to vote who hadn't already received a ballot was given a provisional ballot. Weinland said her office has eight days after an election to verify the registration status of a voter who turned in a provisional ballot.
Election deputy Kim Bonner said only 15 to 20 voters were given provisional ballots as of 5 p.m. Monday.
Weinland encouraged voters who haven't turned in their ballots to do so as quickly as possible Tuesday. She said her staff started processing ballots last Wednesday. The process involves verifying signatures, separating the ballot from the signed envelope to make sure the vote is confidential, visually inspecting the ballot to make sure nothing would prevent it from being scanned and sending it through a scanner that counts votes.
She said unlike in previous years when there was early voting, polling place voting and mail ballots, results from this year's election will all be released at the same time.
Weinland said she hoped that complete results would be available by 9 p.m., but it depends on how many ballots come in right before the 7 p.m. deadline. The Clerk and Recorder’s Office plans to release a preliminary vote tally just after 7 p.m. that should include as many as 6,000 ballots.
Weinland said the activity by voters since ballots were mailed in mid-October is encouraging.
"I don't know if it's the issues on this year's ballot or if people have become accustomed to voting by mail because it seems like we've had a pretty steady flow the last 10 days, which is great," Weinland said. "The earlier people turn in their ballots the better."