Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Compared to past primaries, this year's turnout was good.
But it still was not enough for Routt County Clerk Kay Weinland.
"The turnout was better than normal," Weinland said. "I just would still really like more people to understand the importance of the primary election in the democratic process. It's part of the foundation."
On Tuesday, 2,460 votes were counted. Almost 16 percent of registered voters cast their ballots in the election; 22 percent of active registered voters participated.
Almost 40 percent percent of active Republicans voted, while 30 percent of active Democrats voted. Those latter percentages may be skewed because many unaffiliated voters affiliated with a party at the polls, Weinland said. More than one-third of Routt County voters are unaffiliated.
Her goal for the general election is to get an even bigger voter turnout for the county.
"It would be awesome if we saw over 90 percent" of registered voters vote, she said.
Weinland said she was surprised by the large number of unaffiliated voters who affiliated at the polls and was glad that many took the time to make their viewpoints count.
In the past 10 years, the largest primary showing for Republicans was in 1994, when 38 percent of registered voters came to polls. That year, there was a county commissioner race, a race for county sheriff, a three-way race for governor and a surveyor race in the party.
The largest primary showing for Democrats was in 1998, when almost 15 percent of registered voters came to vote in a year with a race for U.S. senator and governor.
The lowest turnout for both parties came in 2002, when there were no races for either party.
The process to tally votes Tuesday went smoothly, Weinland said. Votes in all precincts were counted by 9:20 p.m.
The county's new tally machine worked quickly and without a problem, she said. She also credited her staff and volunteer judges for tallying votes so quickly.
"We decided it was a good warm-up for November," she said.
People who affiliated for the primary and now want to un-affiliate should go to the Routt County Clerk's office and sign the necessary form.
Weinland encouraged all county voters to make sure their address information is updated before the general election in November. That helps the voting process immensely, she said, and ensures that people show up to the right polling precinct.
"It really makes it a more efficient process if they do their part and get their records corrected prior to Election Day," Weinland said.
Voters can update their records through forms available online, at the county clerk's office and at other locations across the county.
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