Teller Voters May Set Participation Record- Rick Langenberg

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Teller County is poised to set another record for voter participation in the 2016 presidential election.
So maybe the bombardment of negative ads is working, whether this invasion stems from the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton rumble in the mud for the oval office, or the explosion of bizarre commercials regarding a few of the contested state ballot issues. Or maybe this is just part of the usual interest in a presidential election year
According to preliminary figures, nearly 8,100 ballots have already been returned to the Teller clerk and recorder’s office as of Nov. 3. Out of this number, only about 180 voters took advantage of the touch-screen options at polling centers.
These early totals aren’t too shabby, considering that the county only mailed out close to 16,200 ballots to qualified, active registered voters. And if history repeats itself, the county clerk office will get invaded by reams of ballots in the last week. That has been a frequent trend in Teller County, with many people voting early and in the final week.
Nationwide, more than 30 million election ballots were already turned by late last week, according to news reports. This high voter trend may be attributed to a tightening of the presidential race.
A poll, released by CNN on Saturday, indicated that Colorado was in the “purple” toss-up stage in the presidential election, with both Trump and Clinton garnering a 39 percent support level. Nationally, Clinton was leading the race by 3 percentage points. But these polls have widely fluctuated in the last week.
Teller County Clerk and Recorder Krystal Brown classified the early mail-ins and ballots dropped off as good, and typical of a presidential election. During most presidential elections, Teller and El Paso counties get huge turnouts.
“We are hoping for an 80 percent turnout this time,” said Brown.
In 2008, the time of one of the most competitive presidential elections with no incumbents, Teller recorded a 76 percent participation rate. Officials hope to beat that figure for 2016, and may be off to a solid start based on preliminary numbers.
For 2016, the state of Colorado has set a new standard by using an entire mail-in process for its presidential election. This is the first time this has happened for a presidential vote in Colorado.
Election officials say the timing couldn’t be better with the complex election slate, with more than 40 tallies for various election races, judge appointments and local/state ballot propositions.
Brown said election officials did everything they could to keep the ballot to one-page and to make the process easy for Teller residents. Still, she encourages residents to take advantage of the opportunity to vote from the comfort of their homes, instead of visiting a polling center and feeling rushed.
Unlike other larger counties, Teller has several convenient drop-off options.
Election officials are hoping that Teller residents won’t wait until the last minute to drop off their ballots, or to visit a polling center. So if you haven’t completed your ballot and dropped it off, now is the time to act. “The sooner people return their ballots to us, the earlier we will be able to do the election results,” said Brown.
If residents still want to vote, and they haven’t received a ballot and have resided in Colorado for close to 30 days, it’s not too late to case a tally in this election. And residents who want to vote the old-fashioned way at an actual polling location can still do it that way. Residents can still visit polling centers at the Woodland Park Public Library, the Centennial Building in Cripple Creek and the Florissant Public Library today (Nov. 8), which will be open until 7 p.m.
Ballot drop off locations are available at the clerk and recorder’s office in Cripple Creek and at the annex office at 800 Research Drive in Woodland Park. Plus, ballots can be dropped off at the polling centers.
For full election results, residents can visit www.co.teller.co.us/CR. Also, make sure to obtain election updates through the week at www.mountainjackpot.com.
If you have last-minute voting questions, call 719-689-2951.