Today is last chance to vote early

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— Today is the last chance to vote early in the primary elections or pick up an absentee ballot for the primaries.

Early voting started Monday, and had drawn a number of people as of Thursday morning, Routt County Clerk Kay Weinland said.

By that time, 120 Republicans and 68 Democrats had voted early, she said.

Also, absentee ballots had been issued to 99 Republicans and 73 Democrats.

Those numbers suggest there will be a strong showing for the primary election this year, Weinland said.

In 2002, when there were no primary races, the combined number of early and absentee votes was 154, she said. This year, that number has been more than doubled.

The biggest turnout for early voting typically is today, so those numbers likely will grow.

"We still have another two days of early voting," she said, referring to Thursday and today. "Typically, the last day is the busiest. It's human nature, leave it to the last minute."

Weinland said she expects a large voter turnout for the primaries this year because of local and statewide contested elections.

This year, for the Republican party, there are two contested county commissioner primary races: Bea Westwater is challenging incumbent Nancy Stahoviak in District 1, while Jeff Fry and Mark Marchus are facing off in District 2.

There also is a five-way race for the chance to be on the November ballot for the District 3 House of Representatives seat.

For the Democratic party, the primary race for U.S. senator between Mike Miles and Ken Salazar could increase turnout for the party, Weinland said.

Early voting offers convenience to people who may not be in town or may be busy on Tuesday, which is the primary election day.

This year, early voting is at the west entrance, which is off Sixth Street, of the Routt County Courthouse.

"It's just less congested," Weinland said about the new early voting site. "It's a really nice area of the courthouse for the voting."

Early voters have been good about remembering their identifications as required by a recent state law, Weinland said. Driver's licenses are the most popular type of identification voters have brought, but a U.S. Passport, current utility bill or Medicare and Medicaid cards, among other types, also are accepted.

Absentee ballots are the best option for those who will be out of town. The deadline has passed to have an absentee ballot mailed, but people can still pick up the ballots at the Routt County Courthouse today.

The primary election will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. For the primary, precincts have been combined, so voters should be sure to double check where they need to go to vote.

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