Primary registration deadline approaching

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Don't just vote in the election -- vote in the primary election, as well.

That is the message Routt County Clerk Kay Weinland is spreading.

"I don't think people understand the importance of their vote (in the primaries)," Weinland said.

Primary elections typically see less voter participation -- sometimes only 10 percent of registered Routt County voters participate -- which means every vote really counts.

The Republican primary races are contested for the two open Routt County commissioner seats. Jeff Fry and Mark Marchus are running for the District 2 seat representing West Routt County, while incumbent Nancy Stahoviak and Bea Westwater are running for the District 1 seat representing South Routt County.

Tuesday was the deadline for submitting petitions to run for county commissioner as an unaffiliated or minor-party candidate, and no new candidates had made themselves known.

That means in November, the winner of the District 2 Republican race will face incumbent Democrat Doug Monger while the winner of the District 1 Republican race will face Libertarian candidate Mike Kien.

The races for state and national representatives also are heating up, and Colorado is receiving national scrutiny because they could be close, Weinland.

"Which makes it more important that everybody gets to the polls," Weinland said.

Anyone who wants to vote in the primary must be affiliated with a political party and registered to vote in the primary by Monday. In Colorado, voters may only participate in the primary for the party with which they are officially affiliated.

Changing a party affiliation must be done by the Monday deadline. Or, if a voter is unaffiliated, he or she can affiliate at the polls and receive that party's ballot.

Once a voter affiliates, the affiliation stays until the voter changes it, Weinland said.

But it's easy to change, she said, so voters should not be afraid to affiliate for the primary and then become unaffiliated if they want.

The Monday deadline also is a good time to update addresses or make other changes, she said.

Voting at the primary is a good time to make a difference at a local level, Weinland said. People can absentee vote after completing an absentee application, vote early from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 2 through 6 at the Routt County Courthouse and vote anytime on Election Day at the polls.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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