Early voting options expand | SteamboatToday.com

Early voting options expand

Melinda Dudley

— County officials have expanded early voting options in an effort to limit the long lines that plagued polling locations during the 2006 election.

This year’s early voting period is two weeks – from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2. While most early voting will take place at the Routt County Courthouse Annex, the county will set up early voting centers in Hayden and Oak Creek on Saturday, Oct. 27 for one day only. Saturday’s early voting is new this year, as is evening voting until 6 p.m. from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2.

“The reasoning behind it is to get as many people to vote absent by mail or early voting to minimize lines at the polls,” Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said.

Long lines at the polls during the 2006 election earned Routt County a spot on the state’s Election Watch List, and prompted the county to take action.

Offering people the opportunity to vote on evenings and weekends was a suggestion of the Routt County Citizens Election Review Committee, as was increasing the county’s stock of voting machines.

However, the county has been unable to purchase 20 additional voting machines because of delays in the state’s certification process for voting equipment. Counties must wait to purchase new machines until ongoing recertification of existing equipment is completed by the Secretary of State’s office.

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In the absence of additional machines, Weinland and her staff took have made an all-out push to promote early and mail-in voting. In addition to making presentations about early and mail-in voting to service clubs and other local organizations, the county sent mail-in applications with information about the new extended voting hours to all registered voters.

Early Voting (Oct. 22 to Nov. 2)

– 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 22-26 at the Routt County Courthouse Annex in Steamboat Springs

– 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Routt County Courthouse Annex, the Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall in Hayden, and Town Hall in Oak Creek

– 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 at the Routt County Courthouse Annex