County voters converge on polls |

County voters converge on polls

Kevin Ward said there were a number of factors that motivated him to vote yesterday, opening day of early voting.He wanted to make sure his vote was in and counted, and avoid having to deal with a blizzard or some other circumstance that might keep him from voting if he put it off. Most importantly, he was anxious to cast his ballot in what he thinks is the most important election in the past two decades.”Now I don’t have to worry – I’ve canceled out George W. Bush’s vote,” he said.Ward was one of 311 Pitkin County voters to make their way to the clerk and recorder’s office yesterday. They set an opening-day record, said Clerk and Recorder Silvia Davis.”We’ve had lines run into the main room,” she said, “but it’s moved really quickly.”Almost the entire staff at the clerk and recorder’s office was consumed with the election yesterday, guiding people to a back room where voting booths are set up, preparing absentee ballots and answering questions over the phone – What time do you close? What kind of identification do I need? Where can I vote?The office itself has been transformed by the election season. Stacked high against the windows on the outside wall are voting machines separated by precinct, ready to be dispatched around the county before Election Day on Nov. 2.While Davis said she doesn’t keep track of how many people voted on a given day in past elections, County Commissioner and Democratic party activist Mick Ireland does. His records show that the record turnout on any single day of early voting stands between 340 and 350, occurring on the final day of early voting in 2000. The typical turnout for the first day of early voting is in the 80-100 range. The average turnout for early voting in the last presidential election in 2000 was 213 per day.Early voting runs through Oct. 29. The clerk and recorder’s phone number is 920-5180.

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