Update: Weld County experiences brief loss of connection to state voter registration system; Early voter turnout rises to 63 percent | MyWindsorNow.com

Update: Weld County experiences brief loss of connection to state voter registration system; Early voter turnout rises to 63 percent

James Redmond
jredmond@greeleytribune.com

Update 4 p.m. — Weld County experienced a brief outage in the voter service and polling center's ability to connect to the state voter registration service.

From about 3 to 3:20 p.m. Weld County's election workers couldn't with the state system, said Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes. However, the system is back up and working again, she said.

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Update: 1 p.m. — Today came as a relief to many in Greeley as they walked out of the voting booths and into the sunshine of the day.

For many voters, Election Day signaled the end of the most bitter election season they had ever seen and a fresh start for something — anything — better.

At least after today, they'd come to terms with the presumptive winner and go back to life as usual.

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"I'm just ready for it to be over," said Jessica Heid, 23, of Greeley, after voting for Donald Trump this morning. "It's been a year and half since they announced (their bids for the presidency) and all the ads, and the politics. I'm ready for normalcy."

Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes said she expected from 94 percent to 95 percent turnout, not too much different from the 2012 presidential election.

As of 1 p.m. today, Koppes reports that 100,824 mail ballots have been returned, with a total of 7,981 residents who voted in person for a total turnout of 108,805, or 67 percent of registered active voters.

Election watchers said turnout was pretty heavy, and people filtered in and out of the centers donning perhaps a fresh approach to the day. Most everyone said they were glad this day had finally come.

First-time voter and University of Northern Colorado student Bailey Amundson, 20, could only describe the tone of the election with an expletive. She voted for Hillary Clinton.

"I wish I could have had different candidates," Amundson said. "I'm kinda over the commercials and politics and the talk. I'm ready for action."

Matthew Loftesness, 40, of Greeley and a registered Democrat, voted for the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. He said he couldn't stomach either Trump or Clinton. But he said he will accept the outcome.

"Whoever is elected, I pray they lead this country in the direction it needs to go," Loftesness said. "I'll accept the results no matter the outcome. I've had my say, and everyone else in America is having their say. I'm just glad it's over. It was really bad this year."

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Update: 10 a.m. — In the first two hours of voting today, 1,811 voters turned in their ballots, pushing total turnout to 63 percent, according to Weld Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes. She said residents can plan their voting experience by checking out the wait times on line at weldvotes.com. So far, the longest wait time is 22 minutes in Fort Lupton. The clerk and recorder's office at 1401 N 17th Ave. in north Greeley also has a drive-up vote collection center, staffed by a bipartisan team of election judges, a practice Koppes opted to continue from last year's election.

"We received tons of compliments about it," Koppes said. "Our parking lot in front of the election office is small, and if you have a lot of vehicles trying to get in and out it doesn't work well. It really helps the flow of traffic. That along with two 24-hour drop boxes, a lot of people are very complimentary."

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Update: 8:45 a.m. Tuesday — Voter turnout continues to be robust. As of this morning, 97,343 voters in Weld County had turned in their ballots. That equates to a 60 percent turnout of Weld's active voters.

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All day Monday a steady stream of voters filed in and out of the voter service and polling center in west Greeley at the Trinity Lutheran Church and School.

Five voter service and polling centers, abbreviated VSPCs, welcomed Weld County voters Monday to vote in person and drop off completed mail ballots before Election Day. Today, another 10 open for Election Day.

One of the most popular locations, the Trinity Lutheran Church and School VSPC, at 3000 35th Ave., helped push the county's voter turnout number over 50 percent before 11 a.m. Monday, said Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes.

This election marks the first time Colorado will use an all mail-in ballot election system for a presidential election. For some voters, it also was the first time they used the early voting system built into the mail ballot election process.

In the early afternoon hours Josh Cisneros, a Greeley resident and Institute of Business & Medical Careers student, walked out of the Trinity Lutheran VSPC with a smile on his face.

He'd never voted early before. But when a teacher mentioned early voting as an option, Cisneros headed to the VSPC and cast his vote.

The whole process was easy, he said. There were plenty of people to help him out and because he'd been following the national election — which he called "pretty one-sided" — he knew how he wanted to vote.

"Well, I'm Hispanic," Cisneros explained. "So I'm not going to vote for Trump."

For some, such as Greeley resident Marsha Fraser, early voting meant she could vote on a day she had plenty of time instead of a busy schedule, full of other things she needed to accomplish.

"I think it's great," said James Simonton moments after he dropped off his ballot.

A new Colorado resident, formally of Idaho, Simonton said he liked the chance to fill out a mail ballot at home and drop it off before Election Day. It let him have time to look over the ballot and he got to avoid any long lines. Back in Idaho, Simonton said he remembers having to wait more than an hour and a half some years to vote.

Early voting takes some of the pressure off Koppes, her election staff and the election judges. But with close to 50 percent of registered voters still needing to vote, lines will probably build up on Election Day.

She said voters should expect lines and wait times on Election Day at some of the larger and more popular VSPC sites — such as University of Northern Colorado and Trinity Lutheran Church School.

"It's a presidential election," Koppes said. "So it's probably going to be interesting and crazy and fun (at the VSPCs)."

For more than a week, Koppes, her staff and the election judges have worked hard to process the ballots coming in. The group developed into a good machine, but with so many voters waiting until Election Day to vote, she said she expects her and her staff will have to work Wednesday to finish counting all the ballots.

Voting

Voters also can deposit their ballots and vote in person at several locations around Weld County.

Voter Service and Polling Centers

» Trinity Lutheran Church/School, 3000 35th Ave., Greeley. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Weld County Training Center, 1104 H St., Greeley. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Fort Lupton Recreation Center, 203 S. Harrison Ave., Fort Lupton. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Southwest Weld County Services Complex, 4209 Weld County Road 24 ½, Longmont (Del Camino). Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Windsor Faith United Church, 1020 Walnut St., Windsor. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Johnstown Senior Center, 101 Charlotte St., Johnstown. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Keenesburg Town Hall, 140 S. Main St., Keenesburg. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Nunn Town Hall, 185 Lincoln Ave., Nunn. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Platteville Town Hall, 400 Grand Ave., Platteville. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Erie Recreation Center, 450 Powers St., Erie. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Evans Community Complex, 1100 37th St., Evans. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Mead Town Hall, 441 3rd St., Mead. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Farr Library, 1939 61st Ave., Greeley. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Evangelical Free Church, 1325 3rd St., Eaton. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» University of Northern Colorado University Center, 2045 10th Ave., Greeley. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

Drop-off locations

» Weld County election office. Open as a ballot drop-off location, 1401 N. 17th Ave. in Greeley. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Greeley City Hall, 1000 10th St., Greeley. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Southwest Weld County Service Center (Del Camino), 4209 Weld County Road 24 ½. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Carbon Valley Recreation Center, 701 5th St., Frederick. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Greeley Funplex, 1501 65th Ave., Greeley. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Milliken Town Hall, 1101 Broad St., Milliken. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Platte Valley Fire Station, 27128 Weld County Road 53, Kersey. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Briggsdale School, 515 Leslie St., Briggsdale. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» New Raymer Church, 225 Weld County Road 86, New Raymer. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Grover Fire Station, 319 Chatoga St., Grover. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

» Hudson Library, 100 Beech St., Hudson. Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day

Early voting turn out

Weld County’s voters came out in force in the last few days to surge turnout to 60 percent as of this morning.

According to information from Colorado Secretary of State, 97,343 voters from Weld County have turned in their ballots as of this morning. As of Monday night, Weld had 162,729 active registered voters, but that number can still change up until 7 p.m. tonight.

Here’s the breakdown of Weld voters by party who have voted, compared to the number of active registered members of their party:

American Constitution: 350 (52 percent)

Democrat: 24,305 (64 percent)

Green: 171 (45 percent)

Libertarian: 897 (50 percent)

Republican: 42,340 (68 percent)

Unaffiliated: 29,259 (49 percent)

Unity: 21 (48 percent).

Throughout the state, 2.2 million people have turned in their ballots.

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Wait times

Check the wait times for Weld County voter service and polling centers online at: http://www.co.weld.co.us/apps1/clerkrecorder/elections/waittimes/.

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Live Coverage

Follow the Greeley Tribune’s live election coverage online at: http://www.greeleytribune.com/electionslive.

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Voting deadline

Voters need to make sure they meet the 7 p.m. Election Day deadline for voting.

“If you don’t have your ballot turned into us, in our custody, by 7 p.m., we won’t be able to accept it and process your ballot,” said Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes. “So it’s extremely crucial that you get your ballot either to our office or one of our VSPCs or drop-off locations by 7 p.m. (Election Day) because I want to make sure that every single person that wants to participate in this election gets that opportunity.”