Election judge Joni Moss hands a voter an access code for an electronic voting machine Friday at the Routt County Courthouse.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Election judge Joni Moss hands a voter an access code for an electronic voting machine Friday at the Routt County Courthouse.

Early voting polls open today

3 locations ready in Routt County

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If you go

What: Early voting

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today; early voting hours will be extended to 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Oct. 31 in Steamboat Springs

Where: Oak Creek Town Hall, Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall and Routt County Courthouse Annex today; the Routt County Courthouse Annex will be open Monday through Oct. 31

Call: 870-5556

More information: Valid identification is required to vote. Sample ballots are available at www.co.routt.co.u... and in the Steamboat Pilot & Today's Election Guide, which printed in Friday's newspaper and can be viewed on the Web at www.steamboatpilo.... The last day to request a mail-in ballot is Tuesday.

— In the county's second year of providing early voting hours on a Saturday, Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said she's hoping for a higher turnout than the first time around.

"We're hoping to have a good turnout to help with the lines on Election Day but also to justify" Saturday voting, Weinland said, explaining that Saturday early voting drew fewer than 50 people in 2007.

From 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today, polls will be open at Oak Creek Town Hall in South Routt County, the Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall in Hayden and the Routt County Courthouse Annex in Steamboat Springs. Voters from all Routt County precincts are welcome at any of the three polling places, Weinland said.

"If you live in Steamboat, and you're in Oak Creek hunting, you can vote in Oak Creek," she said. Weinland reminded voters that valid identification - such as a current Colorado driver's license, U.S. Passport or U.S. military identification card - is required to vote in person.

With 18 races, 10 amendments and six referendums on this year's ballot, Weinland advised voters to look at sample ballots before coming to the polls.

As of Friday afternoon, Weinland said about 1,200 ballots had been cast since early voting opened Monday at the Routt County Courthouse Annex. The Routt County Clerk and Recorder's office has issued 6,499 mail-in ballots, with 1,728 returned. Tuesday is the last day to request a mail-in ballot, and all ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Early voting hours will run longer next week, with the Routt County Courthouse Annex polling location open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Weinland said turnout at that location so far has been strong, with an occasional wait of 15 to 20 minutes for voters. She expects those lines to get longer as Election Day draws nearer, and she said voters should keep that in mind when choosing a time to cast their ballots.

"I recommend they come in early in the week and early in the day," she said.

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