Heated campaign brings Pitkin voters out in droves | AspenTimes.com

Heated campaign brings Pitkin voters out in droves

Naomi Havlen

Voters flocked to the polls in record numbers in Pitkin, Garfield and Eagle counties on Tuesday, and local election officials were ecstatic.”We do so much work, and put so many months of energy into each election, that it’s great to have a good turnout,” said Pitkin County Clerk Silvia Davis yesterday. “It means we’re not doing all of this work to have just a few people show up.”In Pitkin County, a total of 9,184 people voted, or a staggering 87 percent of registered voters.During the 2000 presidential election, 7,857 people voted – 77 percent of registered voters at that time.”[Eighty-seven percent] is huge – I have never seen that statistic and I’ve been doing this for the last 18 years,” Davis said. “It’s an awesome number.”She attributes the higher voter turnout to the especially controversial, energized presidential election.In Eagle County, 88 percent of voters, or 18,457 people, went to the polls. That compares to 15,340 who voted in the 2000 election in Eagle County, or 74 percent.In Garfield County, 20,508 people (87 percent of voters) cast ballots in this year’s election. In comparison, 17,104 people voted in Garfield County during the 2000 U.S. presidential election.Garfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf said this year’s high turnout didn’t surprise her.”With the way voter registration was going, I knew we’d have a lot more votes,” she said, adding that the increased turnout pleased her. “We like to get all the voters out, so that’s good.”While the heated race between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry drew unprecedented numbers of local voters to the polls, only Garfield County sided with Colorado, and the country as a whole, in its support for the president.Pitkin County voters supported Kerry by almost a three-to-one margin. The vote totals were 6,275 votes for Kerry, 2,750 for Bush and 77 for Reform Party candidate Ralph Nader.Kerry also had more supporters in Eagle County, but not by much. The Massachusetts senator received 9,630 votes, while Bush garnered 8,469 votes. Nader drew 117 votes.In Garfield County, Bush received 10,937 votes to Kerry’s 9,077. Nader collected 142 votes. Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com

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