Voter turnout surges in Pitkin, Eagle counties for Election Day
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.
Support Local Journalism
“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.