Excitement, passion, annoyance and disinterest were splashed across the faces of various Routt County voters at the polls Tuesday.
Some young folks wore wide grins as they got their first taste of democracy. Others rolled their eyes, ready to finish the process in Northwest Colorado, where the blizzard of political phone calls and mailings looked ready to be replaced Tuesday night by the first winter storm of the season.
First-timer Quentin Franke made his voice heard as snow sprinkled over Clark during the last hour of voting. The Steamboat Springs High School senior said he researched most of the items on the three-page ballot, which he called "confusing."
But Franke was happy to make it through the maze of questions, and he received applause at the Moonhill Schoolhouse in Clark after clicking his last electronic answer. Franke barely made the cutoff for Tuesday's vote: He turned 18 on Monday.
Student judge Jasper Gantick sat behind the table at the schoolhouse as his classmate cast a ballot. Gantick, 17, didn't seem to mind that he couldn't vote on the issues he'd been studying at school.
"It was nice because I could help my parents out with the whole process," he said.
And help them he did. The last Precinct 1 voter walked into Moonhill at nearly 6:55 p.m. It was Gantick's mom, Cindy Gantick. Her son needled her as he looked for her name on the list.
"I don't see you on here," Jasper Gantick said. "Have you committed a felony in the past two years?"
The election officials around him burst out laughing.
"Not to my knowledge," his mother answered.
"Maybe I'll look on the other page," Jasper Gantick said, finding his mother's name there.
"Paper or plastic?" he asked, to more laughter. Cindy Gantick went with "plastic" - a voting machine instead of a paper ballot.
After she voted, Gantick said she was proud of Jasper for being involved in the electoral process. The Soda Creek Elementary School teacher wouldn't say how she voted on the issues, noting that the presidential vote was contentious even in her household.
"I'm very excited about what it's done for our country's level of interest in our government," Cindy Gantick said.
Earlier Tuesday in Oak Creek, resident Arlan Peckham said he's not interested anymore. Peckham said he was sick of getting calls from campaigns.
"I go home and just erase all the messages on the phone," said Peckham, who was voting at lunchtime. "It's out of hand."
Jimmy Artz, of Oak Creek, said he was looking forward to "change."
"I'm happy," Artz said after voting. "Abraham Lincoln's going to be smiling tomorrow unless there's fraud in the state."
He got progressively emotional, talking about wanting something new without endorsing a candidate.
"The people have had enough of this," Artz said. "At least, I have."
South of Oak Creek, Yampa resident Nita Naugle smiled as she waited in a three-person line to weigh in.
"It's a relief not to hear all the ads," said Naugle, who added that she's gotten more this year than she typically does. "But I think people are excited to hear the outcome."
In Steamboat Springs, a slow trickle of voters made their way to Centennial Hall just after 5 p.m. Few seemed thrilled about the so-called historic election.
"It's kind of a different class of candidates," Steamboat resident Chance Simpson said.
Voter Phil Pagliaro said he didn't have a strong opinion about the election.
"There's nothing out of the ordinary" for him, he said.
But voters seemed excited in Hayden, election official Tina Fry reported.
"Voter moods have been awesome," Fry said. "They've all been coming prepared; we've been moving really fast."
Voter Jonah Drescher, of Hayden, said he thought people were especially curious and interested in the outcome of this year's election.
"I was excited today, actually," Drescher said. "It seems like it's going to be a big election for either side."
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