Election Day is finally here

About 46 percent of active voters have cast their ballots

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Through early and absentee voting, about 46 percent of Routt County's active voters already have cast their ballots. But Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland isn't expecting a slow day at the polls today.

By the time the polls close at 7 p.m. today, she expects 95 percent of Routt County's active registered voters will have participated in this election.

"That's my gut feeling," Weinland said Monday.

In the last presidential election, about 2,000 Routt County residents voted early. This year, 4,080 hit the polls early. In addition, 1,856 voters requested absentee ballots.

The early voting was a success, with help of dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as residents who had to be patient at times when the line to vote got long, Weinland said.

"I'm proud of Routt County voters," she said. "Everything went smoothly, and I'm so elated with the (early voting) results."

The big turnout for early voting caused one glitch, Weinland said, as the clerk's office came up a little short on ballots and had to renumber about 400 extra absentee ballots to use for early voters.

This year, Weinland ordered about 50 percent more early voter ballots than she did in the 2000 election, but that still was not enough.

People voting today should remember to bring a valid form of identification. A valid driver's license is one of the easiest forms, Weinland said. Expired licenses do not count, but other forms of identification, such as a passport or utility bill, are fine.

Weinland also encouraged voters, especially those in Hayden and South Routt County, to double check their precinct's polling location because some have changed this year.

Residents who have moved since they last voted should stop by the clerk's office today before voting to change their address and get their new polling location so they don't show up to vote in the wrong precinct.

The clerk's office will be open today only for the election. Services such as the office of motor vehicles are closed so all employees can focus on the election.

Workers will begin counting early and absentee ballots this afternoon, and should be able to release preliminary results just after 7 p.m., when the polls close. Results will be available on the county's Web site, www.co. routt.co.us, as they are released.

Final tallies of how Routt County residents voted will not be available right away, to give time for overseas absentee ballots to arrive and to verify provisional ballots. Voters can check whether their provisional ballots were counted by calling the county's office in the ensuing days.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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