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County clerk discusses success of early voting

Sun Advocate publisher

Brandon Wise sets up an electronic voting machine in the lobby of the Carbon County Courthouse in preparation for the Nov. 7 election. County officials expect a heavy turnout at the polls. But clerk-auditor Robert Pero said the two-week early voting program was a success and will probably ease the pressure at all the polling places across Carbon County.

The early voting period that concluded last week was a success in Carbon County and across the state.

"We had people in here to vote constantly on those days," said Carbon County Clerk-Auditor Robert Pero in an interview Monday. "It was so busy that we had a hard time getting any other work done in the office where we had the machines set up. I think the next time we do this we will stage the machines in the small conference room at the other end of the building."

When the early polls were open at the county clerk's office between Oct. 24 and Nov. 3, 1,020 voters showed up and cast ballots.

The total of early ballots cast is nearly one-tenth of the registered voters in the county.

By comparison, Salt Lake County reported that upwards of 10,000 voters cast early election ballots.

"We were very pleased with how many came in," stated Pero.

He also pointed out that early voting had not taken the place of absentee ballots. But the clerk-auditor admitted that some local residents may have used the early opportunity to vote to take care of that responsibility instead of using the form system.

"Absentee ballots are a different animal from early voting, though," said Pero. "People who want to absentee vote can send us an application or even fax it, but the actual ballot has to be sent to a physical address."

Absentee ballots are not counted until a few days after the actual polling day, when the county canvases or confirms the votes cast in the election.

On Tuesday, the remaining registered voters in Carbon County will cast ballots in the 2006 election races.

"It's always hectic the day before," pointed out Pero as people crowded the clerk's office and workers were setting up machines in the lobby of the county courthouse on Monday.

"But the early voting process made it easier this year and in the future it will afford more people the opportunity to vote as well," concluded Pero.

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