Early voters break records

Today final day for early voting, applying for absentee ballot

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A record-breaking number of early voters cast their ballots Wednesday when 476 people hit the polls in a single day.

By the end of early voting today, those record-breaking trends likely will have continued.

Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said she was "absolutely excited" about the increased early voter turnout; and she said it continues to signal the importance of and interest in the 2004 elections at every level.

"Early voting is so awesome," Weinland said. "We have more people than ever."

In 2000, about 2,000 area voters hit the polls before Election Day, and about 1,800 cast absentee ballots.

As of early Thursday, 2,870 Routt County residents had voted early. That number represents more than 20 percent of active registered voters.

Routt County has issued 1,855 absentee ballots this year. The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is today.

In a typical early voting day, about 200 people vote, Weinland said, less than half the number that turned out Wednesday.

In Colorado, about 217,000 early voters had turned out to polls as of Wednesday. Almost 285,000 absentee ballots had been issued.

The Routt County Clerk and Recorder's Office has been handling the increased turnout with the benefit of a new early voting location, which is in the courthouse annex at the Sixth Street entrance, Weinland said.

"It's so efficient, people are in and out of there," said said.

"I'm just so thankful that we set up the way we did, because it is absolutely superb."

The reserved parking spots on Sixth Street also have made the early voting process convenient, she said.

Many early voters have given reasons for voting early such as avoiding lines on Election Day and making sure that even if they get busy on Election Day, they won't miss their chance to vote.

The last day of early voting begins at 8 a.m. today in the Sixth Street entrance of the Routt County Courthouse Annex.

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