Ballots being returned at a brisk pace
Early voting by the numbers
Returns in Eagle County as of Thursday morning:
Republican – 1,219
Democrat - 974
Unaffiliated – 1,001
Total – 3,194
Source: Eagle County Clerk and Recorder
Returns statewide, as of Thursday morning
Republicans - 145,824
Democrats - 105,401
Total - 332,050
Source: Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.
Registered voters in Eagle County by party
American Constitution - 69
Democratic – 9160
Green - 159
Libertarian - 310
Republicans - 8873
Unaffiliated - 14991
Unity – 0
Total - 33,252
Where to drop your ballot
All elections are now mail in ballot format. Voter Service and Polling Centers will be available in Avon, Eagle and El Jebel from Oct. 20 – Nov. 4 for in person voting, replacement ballots, registration and ballot boxes. A ballot box will be in Vail for three days; Saturday, Nov. 1 from 9-1, Monday, Nov. 3 from 8-5 and Election Day Nov. 4 from 7-7.
EAGLE — Colorado voters don’t have to wait until Nov. 4 to cast their ballots, and hundreds of thousands aren’t.
In Eagle County, 3,194 voters had already cast ballots by Tuesday, said Teak J. Simonton, Eagle County clerk and recorder.
Eagle County’s early voters join 332,050 voters across Colorado who had cast ballots and voted by Thursday morning, said Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.
Of those, 145,824 are registered Republicans, and 105,401 are registered Democrats. That’s a 43.9 percent to 31.7 percent lead for the GOP in ballots cast.
Statewide, more than 3.6 million ballots were mailed last week in Colorado’s first all-mail election.
Thirty-six states plus the District of Columbia have some form of early voting — that is, enabling many people to vote before Election Day without needing an excuse.
Less expensive, complicated
This is the first year Colorado has been allowed to do an even year November election by mail, so comparing it to previous elections would be “apples to applesauce,” Simonton said.
She said conducting elections by mail is less complex in many ways for her and her staff.
For example, they can focus registration, issuing and receiving ballots and verifying and counting ballots, rather than dealing with polling place responsibilities, such as testing, transporting and installing 80 pieces of election equipment, as opposed to 10 for a mail-in ballot election, Simonton said.
The number of polling places shrank from 15 locations spread throughout the county to three.
“The polling place format was tremendously overwhelming, not only for my team but for 20 or so other department employees who helped us,” Simonton said. “Mail ballot formats are busy and intense, but much more orderly and less frenzied.”
Mail-in ballot elections also cost less, Simonton said.
They also need fewer election judges, down from 110 to 14 judges. It takes three two-hour sessions to train judges for mail elections, as opposed to five four-hour sessions for polling places.
“Yes, we send ballots to more voters through the mail, but we don’t have the expense of polling place judges to the same degree, and this saves the county tens of thousands of dollars,” she said.
In previous elections before mail-in ballots, installation took eight staff members all weekend to load and deliver supplies, equipment and signage for polling places.
It’s still an election, and there are still a lot of moving parts.
“They are less complex, but still complex,” Simonton said. “They are more controllable allowing better consistency and solid process integrity.”
When mailing their ballots, rural voters should give themselves a week for mailing time, said Richard Coolidge, a spokesman with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.
“When in doubt, deliver your ballot yourself,” Coolidge said.