Pitkin County voters show up in droves for election
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
PITKIN COUNTY ” An emboldened Pitkin County electorate flexed its political might and showed up en masse for the Nov. 4 general election, establishing a record for the number of ballots cast in such a proceeding, preliminary estimates found Wednesday.
A total of 9,845 people voted in the general election, according to the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, equating to a voter turnout of about 74 percent. That figure was based on the 13,314 registered voters who live in the county.
That figure was also about 6 percent above the previous high of 9,282, which was set in the November 2004 general election.
The most recent general election figure represents the number of votes tallied in the presidential contest, as official results have not been released. Official results would include provisional ballots, of which there were an undetermined number outstanding Wednesday.
County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill could not be reached for comment.
Preliminary early voting totals were also higher than in previous general elections, as 3,513 were cast prior to Tuesday. That figure was roughly 200 more than the previous high of 3,298, which was also set in the November 2004 general election.
By comparison, a total of 2,131 early votes were cast in the November 2000 general election.
As in previous general elections, Pitkin County voters sided heavily with the Democratic Party at the top of the ticket, unofficial results showed.
President-elect Barack Obama and vice president-elect Joe Biden picked up 7,260 votes in Tuesday’s election, while Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin recorded 2,448.
In the November 2004 general election, Democrats John Kerry and John Edwards racked up a total of 6,335 votes in Pitkin County, while incumbents George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had 2,784.
In the November 200 general election, Democrats Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman had 4,137 votes, while the Bush and Cheney ticket garnered 2,565.
Pitkin County Democratic Party Chairwoman Camilla Auger said the turnout was the result of many people coming together for one cause.
“We just totally worked our tails off. We have been working the campaign a very long time,” said Auger, regarding activities ranging from voter registration to early vote drives that were deemed successful. “We (also) had more volunteers than we have ever seen … at the same time we did block walking and phone banking to get people interested.”
She attributed the strong turnout, in part, to the Obama factor.
“Often the national campaigns have been very frustrating for us no matter how hard we worked. But Obama, in my opinion, ran the only flawless primary and general campaign I have ever seen.”
Auger added, “The excitement he generated was terrific.”
On the other side, Pitkin County Republican Party Chairwoman Frieda Wallison said the high turnout was no surprise given the stakes.
“We were working very hard for some months, weeks to try and get our vote out,” she said. “In the final days we were probably making hundreds and hundreds of phone calls.”
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