Wednesday’s story in the Steamboat Today titled “Seniors get out to vote” has once again raised a question in my mind about one result of early voting and mail-in ballots.
Demographic information on percentile of age groups voting was released prior to the end of the election. This raises a question as to whether it is appropriate for election officials to release this kind of information before final votes are cast. Could releasing this information affect the result of a fair election and, if so, is this a good practice? It could be argued that it is, since everyone can read it and perhaps more people will vote. Or it could be argued that ballots and who is voting is private information until after the election.
In the past, when we all voted on one day, this demographic information was never available until after the election. So this is a real change in voting procedure. Under the old voting system, political parties and special-interest groups did have poll watchers to help get out their vote. They had to follow specific guidelines to ensure they did not interfere with voters. It would seem that this process is less important now, even though it is still commonly used.
I am not taking a side on this issue, rather just pointing out that a change has occurred that deserves some careful thought. Please weigh in with your election officials, if you are concerned about this change. I feel that Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland has a strong desire to run a fair election and may want to hear from concerned citizens on this issue.