Early voting an early hit

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Election Day is still a few days away, but the polls already are experiencing healthy voter turnout.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 1,132 voters cast early ballots, and 409 absentee voters had turned in their ballots. Early voting, which is being conducted at the Routt County Courthouse, started Oct. 17 and ends Friday.

"I've been really pleased thus far with this election. It indicates that a good percentage of registered voters are voting, which always makes my day," Routt County Clerk Kay Weinland said.

Early voting can be done from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Friday. Voters must bring identification.

Weinland expects fewer vot-ers to participate in this year's election because there are no presidential or gubernatorial races. However, this year's Steamboat Springs City Council races, a Steamboat Springs School Board race and local ballot issues are creating some enthusiasm, she said.

"There's a lot of really high-charged issues that have created a lot of drive to vote," she said.

Weinland said early voting numbers increase each day, and elections workers are expecting early voting to continue to pick up as the week nears an end.

"The last two days are usually very brisk," she said. "We gear up for it."

Following is a list of the ballot issues and races voters will decide, depending on where they live:

All Colorado residents can vote on referendums C and D. Referendum C would allow the state to keep revenues it collects above the Taxpayers Bill of Rights limits for the next five years and spend those funds on education, health care or transportation projects. Referendum D would permit state government to borrow money through bonding to complete a specific list of projects. Referendum D cannot take effect unless C passes.

All Routt County residents can vote on Referendum 1A and Referendum 1B. Referendum 1A would approve a 1.5-mill property tax to preserve ranchlands and natural areas. Referendum 1B proposes a 1-mill property tax that would raise $832,000 a year to support Horizons Specialized Services.

Steamboat Springs residents, regardless of which districts they live in, can vote for City Council candidates in each race: District 1, District 2, District 3 and at-large.

Residents of each local school district can vote for candidates in each director district race for their district.

Residents of the East Routt Library District can vote for referendums 5A and 5B. Referendum 5B requests an $11.4 million bond to fund the construction of an expansion to Bud Werner Memorial Library. Referendum 5A proposes a 1-mill property tax to fund the upkeep and utility bills for the expanded library. The East Routt Library District shares the same boundaries as the Steamboat Springs School District.

Residents living within the Yampa Valley Housing Authority's boundaries can vote for Referendum 5C, which would allow the Housing Auth-ority to retain reserves and keep any unexpected grant and gift monies it did not budget for the previous year. The coverage area for the ballot issue is larger than the city of Steamboat Springs but does not include all of Routt County.

Each voter's ballot contains questions based on where he or she lives. If voters have moved recently, it's important for them to change their addresses so they know the correct polling locations to vote at, Weinland said.

Those who have moved or who have questions about voting should stop by the Clerk and Recorder's Office at the courthouse, call 870-5556 or visit www.co.routt.co.us/clerk.

-- To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229 or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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