Election judge Jane Romberg pulls a ballot out of the scanner after it was counted Monday afternoon at the Routt County Elections Office inside the Routt County Courthouse in Steamboat Springs.

Photo by John F. Russell

Election judge Jane Romberg pulls a ballot out of the scanner after it was counted Monday afternoon at the Routt County Elections Office inside the Routt County Courthouse in Steamboat Springs.

Election day arrives in Steamboat

Voter turnout surges in recent days; ballots accepted until 7 p.m. today

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Election 2009

Visit www.steamboatpilot.com/election2009 for complete coverage of this year's races and issues.

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Elections Supervisor Vicki Weber goes through a stack of ballots looking for a ballot that was kicked out because of a mark on the bar code. Weber said the ballot will be pulled out of the group, but they will be counted by hand.

By the numbers

Routt County registered voters by age group

Age Range/Voter Count/Percentage

18-24/1,530/9.3

25-34/3,363/20.4

35-44/3,174/19.3

45-54/3,539/21.5

55-64/3,190/19.4

65+/1,671/10.1

Totals/16,467/100

Voters in 2009 election by age group*

Age Range/Voter Count/Percentage

18-24/94/2.3

25-34/245/6.1

35-44/622/15.5

45-54/985/24.5

55-64/1,286/32

65+/786/19.5

Unknown/3/0.1

Totals/4,021/100

* Through Monday; ballots are being accepted until 7 p.m. today

Source: Colorado Secretary of State's Office, Routt County Clerk and Recorder's Office

At a glance

- If you haven't received a ballot and think you should have - or have any questions about this year's election - visit the Routt County Elections Office in the Routt County Courthouse or call 970-870-5558.

- All ballots must be received by 7 p.m. today at the Routt County Elections Office. It is too late to return a ballot by mail, and other drop-off locations throughout the county are no longer available.

- Electronic voting is available for disabled voters or any voter who chooses to vote electronically, at the Elections Office on the third floor of the Routt County Courthouse until 7 p.m. today.

— Voter turnout through Monday surged by about 1,000 votes since late last week. More than 4,000 Routt County residents now have voted in the 2009 election.

About 4,000 more people will have to vote today if Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland is to meet her goal of 60 percent voter turnout in the county's first election conducted exclusively with mail ballots. Ballots are being accepted from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at the Routt County Elections Office in the Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Those who haven't received a ballot and think they should have - or have any other questions - should visit the elections office or call 970-870-5558. Completed ballots must be received by 7 p.m. today. It is too late to return ballots by mail, and other drop-off locations throughout the county were closed Friday. An electronic voting machine made available for disabled voters also may be used by anyone else through 7 p.m. today at the elections office.

In Steamboat, there are three contested City Council races and one contested School Board race. In Hayden, there are two tax questions on the ballot and two contested School Board races.

Steamboat Springs City Council candidates Kyle Pietras and Kenny Reisman spent Monday with campaign signs on street corners, waving at cars and talking to residents. Their opponents took a more relaxed approach.

"I'm just calling a few friends and kissing my own baby," said former Councilman Jim Engelken, who faces Pietras in the race for a two-year, at-large seat.

Pietras said he hoped to motivate residents who haven't returned a ballot yet.

"I don't know what to think," Pietras said about his chances. "I'm new at this. I give myself a 50-50 shot."

Reisman, who faces Ken Solomon in the District 2 race, said he was encouraged to hear voter participation is increasing.

"I'm finding that out today. That's encouraging," Reisman said Monday. "With that said, I want to be the one they're voting for."

Solomon said he is optimistic about his chances.

"I appreciate everyone who supported me," he said, "and I hope it works out the best for the citizens of Steamboat Springs."

Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski, who faces former City Council President Kevin Bennett in the District 1 race, said she's just glad the election soon will be over. Bennett did not return phone messages left at his home and office Monday.

Hermacinski, Reisman and Pietras will await election returns at the Old Town Pub, across Sixth Street from the courthouse. Solomon and Engelken said they were unsure about their election night plans.

Because of the format of this year's election, there will be only one round of results released tonight, which is expected fairly early in the night compared to a traditional election.

"It's going to depend on how many people wait until the last minute," Weinland said. "We're going to process them as fast as we can, but if we get just slammed, it's going to delay results."

At 4,021, the number of votes cast so far is still low compared with previous odd-year elections. In the city of Steamboat Springs, 2,623 people have voted. More than 6,000 people voted in Routt County's 2007 election, including about 3,500 city residents.

There are no elections in South Routt County this fall, which accounts for some of the decrease in the number of votes cast countywide. Voters younger than 45 increased their share of the vote in recent days to 23.9 percent, but their participation rate in this year's election is still low considering half of the county's registered voters are in that age group.

Check www.steamboatpilot.com tonight for election results and coverage.

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