Absentee ballots prove popularin Pitkin and Garfield counties

Naomi Havlen

Requests for absentee ballots for November’s election have been inundating the clerk and recorder’s offices in Pitkin and Garfield counties.But that’s not unusual with the general election on the horizon, and a presidential one at that. Silvia Davis, Pitkin County clerk, said more voters in the county – absentee and otherwise – always turn out for presidential elections.It’s too soon to say exactly how many people would rather vote as absentees than go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 2, Davis said, since voters are allowed to pick up the absentee ballots until the Tuesday before the election.The absentee ballots are mailed back to the clerk and recorder’s office, and must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.”We can process them – open them, confirm a signature and get them ready – but we can’t do a final count until after 7 p.m. on Election Day,” Davis said.Early voting at the Pitkin County Courthouse plaza building begins on Oct. 18 for anyone who wants to get voting out of the way, and ends the Friday before the election, Oct. 29.In Garfield County, a representative from the clerk and recorder’s office said they received 10,000 requests for absentee ballots for the 2000 election. Garfield officials expect to get at least that many requests, if not more, for this year’s election.”This is a busy time for us always,” Davis said. “Lately, what we have had a lot of is last-day and last-week voter registration. To me, it signifies a lot of interest in this election.”Monday was the last day voters could register for the election, and county clerk’s offices all over the valley were swamped with people wanting to register at the last minute. Mildred Alsdorf, county clerk for Garfield County, said some people registered in her office who haven’t voted in 30 years.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is