Early Voting on Track for Record Turnout

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It could be the hotly contested state and national political races or fears of last-minute problems on Election Day. Whatever the reason, more than a quarter-million Coloradans have already voted, either by going to the polls early or by absentee ballots.

According to the latest available figures, just over 159,300 people statewide have cast absentee ballots. Another 102,261 people have taken advantage of early voting.

The Secretary of State's Office says there are almost 3.1 million registered voters in Colorado. About 60 percent of them are expected to cast absentee ballots or vote early.

El Paso County Clerk and Recorder, Bob Balink, reports that early voting for the November 2004 General Election surpassed the 20,000 voter level at 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday.

“Through mid-afternoon noon today (Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2004) we have now exceeded 20,000 ballots cast and we still have 3 days to go,” Balink said. Early voting started on Oct. 18 and continues through Friday, Oct. 29 at any of the Clerk and Recorder offices listed below:

1. Centennial Hall – 200 South Cascade Avenue
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2. Chapel Hills Mall – 1710 Briargate Blvd (between JCPenney and Mervyn’s)
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

3. Widefield – 115 Fontaine Blvd
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Balink continued, “In the 2000 Presidential Election approximately 21,000 Early Ballots were cast and we expect to pass that number sometime on Wednesday, with two full days remaining for Early Voting. Our Election Department staff has done an incredible job to accommodate Early Voters with minimal waiting time in line. However, I expect that on Election Day (Nov. 2, 2004) there will be record lines. The basic question to the citizens of El Paso County is ‘Is it worth the wait in line?’” Balink asked. “My answer to that question is a resounding ‘YES’!”

As a reminder, the last day for eligible voters to pick up an Absentee Ballots is Friday, Oct. 29. Eligible voters can pick up Absentee Ballots at the Centennial Hall (downtown) office only.

Voting at polling places will be open on Tuesday, Nov. 2 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Due to Federal Legislation, proper identification is required when early voting and voting at your polling place. Applicants must provide a valid Colorado driver’s license or identification card issued by the Department of Revenue, or other acceptable form of identification.

One final note, if citizens have any doubt about whether they are properly registered to vote, they are encouraged to contact the El Paso County Election Office prior to next Tuesday.

The Election Department can answer any questions you may have at 719-575-VOTE (8683) or via e-mail at carweb@elpasoco.com.