Steamboat Springs The last day for early voting in Tuesday's primary election ends today, but party officials aren't expecting much of a response.
Neither the Republican nor the Democratic ballot lists any challengers for a lengthy list of national, state and county offices. That means people who vote early today or wait until Tuesday to cast their ballot won't have to worry about second-guessing their candidates of choice.
In some cases, they may not have any ovals to blacken.
Democratic Party Chairman Ben Beall can't remember a time in Routt County when candidates from both parties ran unopposed in the primary election.
He would have preferred the county cancel the primary election because no candidates or issues are challenged in the primary.
"It depreciates the election process when you have an election and there is nothing to go and vote for," he said.
State statute offers no recourse, he said.
An election deputy informed him no laws exist that might allow a county to cancel its primary election if all candidates on the ballot face no opposition from within their party.
Beall said he doesn't understand what circumstances led people to shy away from running for office this year.
People obviously weren't willing to step forward, he said.
"But the real question is, 'Why wouldn't they step forward?'" he said.
Beall said he will show up to vote Aug. 13, but he does not anticipate many people to follow his lead.
Many Republican candidates are already guaranteed a return to office in the Nov. 5 general election because April caucuses did not yield Democratic challengers for several positions in Routt County. County Commissioner Dan Ellison, County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland, County Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon, County Assessor Amy J. Williams, Sheriff John Warner and County Coroner Doug Allen face no opposition from the Democratic Party.
No candidate from either party is running for the office of county surveyor.
Republican Party Chairman Olive Morton encouraged people to come to the polls despite the absence of contested offices.
"It's a privilege," she said. "Any time we have an opportunity to vote, we should take advantage of it."
Routt County voters are more likely to cast their ballot in the general election, she said, when candidates from both parties square off for seats in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, Colorado General Assembly and several other state offices.
The act of voting in the primary, she said, shows support for the party.
As of August, 5,362 people in Routt County were registered with the Republican Party, compared to 4,169 Democrats. About 7,300 registered voters were not affiliated with any party.
Morton said the people who will most likely vote in the primary election are those who always vote.
"I would be surprised if there is a very large turnout," Morton said.
About 150 people have voted in the early election, which began Monday at the Routt County Clerk and Recorder's office, elections deputy Vicki Weber said.
People who wish to vote in the election Tuesday can cast their ballot from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at one of 20 polling places in the county.
Today is the final day to apply for an absentee ballot in the primary election.
All absentee ballots must be returned to the county clerk no later than 7 p.m. Tuesday.