Nov 1, 2010 8:27 PM by David Ortiviz

Nearly third of voters in Pueblo, El Paso counties voted early

Election workers are gearing up for a busy day at the polls Tuesday, although new numbers show nearly a third of voters in El Paso and Pueblo Counties have already made up their minds. In El Paso County, 106,905 people or 29% of registered voters either voted early or by mail. In Pueblo, 29,503 people voted early--28% of registered voters.

Those figures show about 70% of registered voters in both counties are still waiting to vote. What does that mean for Election Day turnout? "It means that there's the possibility that more people will show up on election day than have in the past," said Gilbert Ortiz, Pueblo County Clerk.

Ortiz predicts this year's Election Day turnout will be higher than the last mid-term election, held in 2006. However, compared to 2008 when President Obama was elected, Ortiz says this year's early voting numbers are 50% lower. "08 was pretty much an anomaly. We saw high turnouts in every county in Colorado. A lot of that enthusiasm has fallen off and it does every mid-year election."

Less enthusiasm and changing habits. In El Paso County 8 out of 10 early voters skipped the voting booths and mailed in their ballots--emulating a trend since 2006, which could mean a low turnout on election day. "Since mail-in numbers are up from 2006 I think fewer people will vote at their polling place on election day this time," said Liz Olson, El Paso County Election Manager.

Remember the polls are open Nov. 2 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you're voting by mail ballot, drop it off to your clerk's office or any polling location by 7 p.m. It's too late to mail it.

2010 Early Voting by the numbers:

El Paso County:

95,328 mail-in ballots returned as of Nov. 1
11,577 people voted at early voting sites
371,015 total registered voters

Pueblo County:

22,426 mail-in ballots returned as of Nov. 1
7,077 people voted at early voting sites
105,000 total registered voters

2010 Early Voting breakdown by party affiliation:

El Paso County:

57,800 Republicans
24,439 Unaffiliated
24,106 Democrats
406 Libertarian
77 American Constitution
77 Green Party

Pueblo County:

15,195 Democrats
8,839 Republicans
5,469 Unaffiliated, American Constitution, Libertarian or Green Party

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