Early voting gets slow start in Garfield County
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GARFIELD COUNTY ” Garfield County election judges Bronwyn Kelch and Nancy Selzer were enjoying the calm before the storm Tuesday afternoon.
By then, they had seen about 50 people who came in for early voting Tuesday morning. That number had doubled by the time the polls shut down later that night.
“We seem to have a little rush after lunch,” Kelch said. “We are expecting it to be busier the closer it gets to October 31st.”
Halloween is the last day of early voting for Garfield County, and County Clerk Jean Alberico agrees that the early voting lines will grow as the deadline closes in.
“I’m sure it will, that’s what we saw in the ’04 election,” Alberico said. “The closer you get to a deadline, we’re all the same, you know, we wait until the last minute to do it.”
Alberico said Thursday that her office had seen approximately 241 people cast ballots through Wednesday.
Not a great number, but it’s still better than nothing.
“It’s kind of like we expected,” she said. “It’s always slower the first week. We had a really good turnout on opening day.”
Kelch thought that one reason for low turnout was the hours in which the polling places are open: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. But that is going to change next week when early voting at both locations, the Glenwood Springs Courthouse room 101C and the Human Services Building on 14th Street in Rifle, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
“On Halloween, we are closing at five,” Alberico said. “People who are in line at 5 p.m. will still be able to vote, but we are not extending the hours on Friday.”
There will also be no early voting on Monday, Nov. 3, before the Tuesday elections. The only people who will be allowed to vote on that day are those who qualify for emergency absentee voting, according to Alberico. People who qualify are those who have had something occur after 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, that will prevent them from voting on Nov. 4.
Despite low turnout at early voting, the clerk’s office has mailed 15,000 mail-in ballots and has already received more than 2,500. But with more than 23,000 registered voters in Garfield County, that would still make for long lines at polling places come Nov. 4.
“I’m still encouraging people to do the early voting,” Alberico said. “With the numbers we are seeing, on Election Day they are going to be busy.”
Contact John Gardner: 384-9114
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