Voter turnout surges in Pitkin, Eagle counties approaching Election Day | AspenTimes.com
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Voter turnout surges in Pitkin, Eagle counties approaching Election Day

Virginia McNellis walks her daughter Avery McNellis, 12, through her voting selections as they fill out the ballot at the Aspen Jewish Community Center on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. “It was interesting to learn about all the different decisions that have to be made,” said Avery about the voting process. This was the first time Avery had gone to vote with her mom. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

election day voting

In-person voting

Those who want to vote in person or register to vote on Tuesday have three options: the Aspen Jewish Community Center (435 W. Main St.), Snowmass Village Town Hall (130 Kearns Road) and the Basalt Library (14 Midland Ave.) All will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must have a facemask, identification and practice 6-foot social distancing to be able to vote. To find out more about voter registration or to check your registration status, go to Find My Voter Registration on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.

Drop-off locations

Voters can drop off ballots until 7 p.m. on Election Day. Ballot drop boxes, which feature video surveillance, are located in front of the Pitkin County Administration Building (530 E. Main St.), Snowmass Village Town Hall, Basalt Town Hall (101 Midland Ave.) and the Eagle County office building adjacent to Crown Mountain Park.

Pitkin County residents in the Crystal Valley and other areas downvalley will have two drop-off ballot locations on Election Day. Election judges will supervise ballot drop-off from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Redstone Church (0213 Redstone Blvd.) and at the Aspen Village Fire Station (31350 Highway 82).

In addition, any county ballot drop-off box can accept ballots from another county, according to Pitkin County Clerk and Record Janice Vos Caudill. Those will be forwarded to her office.

Resources

• Pitkin County information and sample ballot are available at pitkinvotes.com.

• Eagle County information for Basalt and El Jebel voters can be found at eaglecounty.us.

• To check the status of your ballot, go to colorado.ballottrax.net/voter.

• To check your voter registration information, go to govotecolorado.com.

• The state of Colorado Blue Book, which breaks down each issue, is mailed to voters but also can be found at leg.colorado.gov. It is available in Spanish and as an audio book.

Voter turnout has surged in the counties of the Roaring Fork Valley and appears destined to eclipse marks established in the 2016 presidential election.

In Pitkin County, there have been 9,742 mail ballots returned and 521 people voting in person for a total of 10,263 as of early afternoon Monday, said Clerk and Recorder Janice Vos Caudill.

Four years ago, there were 10,720 ballots cast.

“I am confident we will surpass that,” Vos Caudill said.

There are 13,918 active, registered voters in Pitkin County, so turnout is already at 74%. While it is impossible to predict how many people will drop off ballots at boxes before 7 p.m. Tuesday or how many voters will physically visit a polling center, it’s a safe bet that hundreds or even thousands of additional ballots will be submitted.

“We’re prepared to process 12,000 (total),” Vos Caudill said.

In Eagle County, there were 24,493 ballots returned as of Monday afternoon, according to a state update. There are about 34,000 registered, active voters in the county, so the turnout is at 72% and rising.

That’s pacing ahead of the rate ballots were turned in during the 2016 election cycle. The total in 2016 was about 25,500 or 83% of the registered voters at that time. This year, Clerk and Recorder Regina O’Brien said she expects turnout to exceed 30,000, or 88%.

“I’m going big,” she said Monday morning of her forecast.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, 25,968 Garfield County residents had voted, representing a turnout of nearly 72%.

Colorado voters were urged this year to vote early and take advantage of submitting their ballots through the mail or drop boxes. Vos Caudill credited Pitkin County residents with heeding the plea.

“People have been incredibly conscientious of getting their mail ballots to us,” she said.

According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, they had processed 2.7 million ballots statewide as of 4 p.m. Monday (of 3.7 million active, registered voters).

Nevertheless, there are those who prefer to show up in person on Election Day, O’Brien said.

“Some people want to make sure there is no additional information, if they are undecided,” O’Brien said. For others, standing in line at a polling place on Election Day is simply a tradition they want to continue, she added.

The wave of early voting will help the election officials get results to the public in a timely manner, the clerks said. Colorado law allows ballots to be processed starting Oct. 19. O’Brien said election judges are verifying signatures and scanning ballots.

Vote tallies cannot be run or released until after 7 p.m. on Election Day. O’Brien and Vos Caudill said the public will receive the first wave of results shortly after 7 p.m. and it will be a major one.

O’Brien said ballots will be processed as late asmidnight in Eagle County. If some remain, election judges will reconvene Wednesday.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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