Officials: Go to polls prepared

Large turnout, lengthy ballot could create lines for voters

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Voting machines

Related stories:
County says voting machines secure (Sept. 22, 2006)
New voting off and running (Aug. 8, 2006)
Early voters happy with system (Aug. 2, 2006)
Voting system demos available (July 11, 2006)
Learn about voting changes (May 14, 2006)

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Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland, front, and Joan Lucas set up electronic voting machines Monday in the Steamboat Pilot & Today conference room. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. Registered Routt County voters can cast ballots at any of the eight polling centers, regardless of where they live.

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Voters wait in line Tuesday for their chance to vote at the Steamboat Pilot & Today, one of eight voting centers in the county. Officials said residents should be patient and be prepared to wait.

Election 2006

More Election 2006 stories

— A limited number of electronic voting machines and a potentially large number of voters could result in lines at Routt County polls today.

"It could be a problem," Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said Monday. "People could have to wait in line. If people are in line by 7 p.m., they will be able to vote, no matter how long we have to stay there."

Thirty-five voting machines are distributed throughout the county's eight voting centers. Voters in Routt County can cast their ballots at any one of the centers from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Weinland said six machines are at the Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall in Hayden, six are at the Routt County Courthouse Annex in downtown Steamboat Springs, five are at Yampa Valley Medical Center, four machines are at the Fairfield Inn, Steamboat Pilot & Today and Oak Creek Town Hall, and three are at Yampa Town Hall and North Routt Community Charter School in Clark.

"I have more voting machines (per registered voter) than I'm required to have by law," Weinland said. "It's part of the voters' responsibility to be prepared."

Steamboat Springs City Council President Ken Brenner, chairman of the Routt County Democratic Party, said he spent much of Monday at Weinland's office monitoring preparations for today's election.

"We don't expect any problems with the capacity of the machines (to process votes)," Brenner said. "But if we have 4,000 people vote on Election Day, or 4,500, we're definitely going to be crowded."

More than 4,000 people - about 30 percent of registered voters - cast early or absentee ballots in Routt County since Oct. 23. Weinland said the last day of early voting was "absolutely bonkers" as 435 people cast ballots at the courthouse annex.

Brenner advised voting at "off times," such as mid-morning or mid-afternoon, and he said voters waiting in long lines could consider voting at a less-crowded center.

Throughout the campaign season, Weinland has advised coming to the polls with a prepared sample ballot.

This year's ballot is the lengthiest in Colorado in more than 90 years.

Voters across the state today will elect a governor, a secretary of state, a treasurer and an attorney general while also deciding on 14 ballot questions.

Voters in Steamboat Springs will decide whether to raise pay for City Council members, whether to fund a $29 million bond issue for a new Soda Creek Elementary School and whether to increase property taxes to boost school staff salaries.

Voters in the state's Third Congressional District will elect a congressman, and voters in state House District 57 will elect a state representative. Both districts include Routt County.

Routt County voters also will elect a new sheriff, commissioner and assessor.

Routt County Democrats plan to watch election results at the Steamboat Smokehouse. Routt County Republicans will be a few blocks east on Lincoln Avenue, at the Old Town Pub.

Final thoughts

On Monday, the candidates in Routt County's three contested races reflected on months of campaigning and gave a final message to voters. In alphabetical order:

ASSESSOR

Mike Kerrigan (D)

Campaigning: "It's been a really interesting and gratifying experience, primarily because of the support I've gotten from my party, from the people of the county and from people I've met."

To voters: "I appreciate the support of all the people who have come out to listen to the candidates and who take the privilege of voting seriously. I have a lot more respect for the trust you're trying to earn from the voters."

Dick Klumker (R)

Campaigning: "I've gotten to meet a lot of really good people."

To voters: "I would do a good job for them - I don't know that there's much more to say than that. I'm looking forward to their vote."

Nancy Terry (U)

Campaigning: "It was wonderful - I had a great time. I loved the forums, I thought that was the real highlight."

To voters: "I have faith that they'll vote the right person into office. You have to have faith in that system, that the majority will pick the right person."

COMMISSIONER

Diane Mitsch Bush (D)

Campaigning: "I've enjoyed it very much. I've enjoyed learning, meeting people and sharing ideas."

To voters: "I think I have very excellent and pertinent experience for this job. I can certainly hit the ground running as a commissioner for all the people of Routt County."

Paul Strong (R)

Campaigning: "I've had a number of people thank (Mitsch Bush and I) for running pretty clean campaigns. When you watch TV and see what's going on in other races, I can't imagine what it would be like to be at a higher level. The broader the campaign, the more downhill it seems to go."

To voters: "I've enjoyed serving the voters for the last seven years, and I hope I get to continue for four more."

SHERIFF

Gary Wall (D)

Campaigning: "So many times in a sheriff's election there's not a clear choice, but there's a clear choice in this election, because we stand for different philosophies. I'm satisfied with what I did to articulate my positions."

To voters: "The more people that vote, the better. I'm excited to see if the people of Routt County are ready for me."

Garrett Wiggins (R)

Campaigning: "It's just going to be a huge relief, one way or the other. I look forward to spending some good quality time with my kids and my wife."

To voters: "I'd like to show my appreciation to everyone that has supported me and backed me. If elected, I'm going to put together a good team of administrators, and we're going to try to make this one of the best sheriff's departments in Colorado."

- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

1stduderiding 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm extremely disappointed to see that the Editorial Staff did not stand up and endorse any local candidates. This may seem like a late post--on Election Day--but I kept waiting to see who the Steamboat Pilot & Today believed was qualified to hold local office and ended up with nothing. The staff had no problem making their views known on issues, local and state, yet seemed to back off any sort of position on races that certainly will matter most to citizens of Routt County--who will lead law enforcement, who will determine property values, and who will set forth a plan for the future of the county. I wouldn't call the move cowardly--the Editorial Staff has taken strong stands on issues--just not in step with what newspapers have done throughout the years. Maybe they thought that the paper only speaks for Steamboat Springs and not Routt County, but that does not explain the extensive coverage of the sheriff's race this year. I just hope that in the future, the Pilot plays its hand and gives its readers its' opinions on candidates--not just ballot measures.

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seabirth 8 years, 1 month ago

hey it's either "get ready for gary wall" or "trying to make this one of the best sheriff's department in colorado"

hmmmmmmmmmm...... such a difficult choice.

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Hmmm 8 years, 1 month ago

Gary Wall says, "I'm satisfied with what I did to articulate my positions." Huh? Gary Wall never took a stand on any issues throughout his entire campaign....he articulated nothing. He said Amendment 44 was too complicated to take a stand and he stated that he was, "out of the loop", when it came to GRAMNET and drug enforcement issues. Can anyone tell me how that constitutes, "articulating my positions"??? Once again, Gary Wall has opened his mouth and shown the citizens of Routt County how delusional he his....it still amazes me that people are going to vote for this whacko (poor background and all).

Today the voters will decide and hopefully they use their common sense and vote for the qualified candidate. If they don't, then Routt County better be ready....cause Gary Wall will turn law enforcement upside down, there will be no "serve or protect" with him, and he will be using our tax dollars to pull citizens out of ditches with county vehicles.

This Democrat voted.....and this Democrat voted for the republican candidate....Wiggins!

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Matthew Stoddard 8 years, 1 month ago

1stdude- Scott Stanford has stated that the Pilot will take sides on issues up for a vote but not candidates. I don't have a problem with it, personally. I'm not sure exactly why, but I'd attribute it to being the only "full-sized" newspaper. The Denver Post has the Rocky Mountain News to express a differing opinion, if they have one. The Local is a much smaller publication and at this time, I wouldn't consider it true competition to the Pilot in most factors. (Too bad, too. I enjoy The Local's articles. Great humor in them, and Scott & Paulie are great supporters of the Arts!)

Like Hmmm did on the Sheriff race, I don't always vote party lines. I'm a Republican and I voted for Wiggins because I distrust Wall on issues that he dodged or just poo-pooed away. I'm not looking for a "feel good" sheriff, just one who will enforce the law. I also voted for John Salazar because he hasn't done anything to make me think he shouldn't get another term.

This is the stance I have to take with the kids on my gaming console site: I vote for what feels right to me, whether along my party's way of thinking or not, just like I enjoy all video games regardless of which game console they come out on.

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