Election Day 2012 updates

Chris Tiller, 47, of Loma, said the voting process in Fruita this morning was “incredibly smooth.”

6:40 p.m. – More than 10,500 people in Mesa County today and as of 6 p.m., 89 percent of active voters have participated in this election.

4 p.m. – Voter turnout has now topped 87.6 percent of active, registered voters.
Wait times
Fruita—5-10 mins.
Fairgrounds—5-10 mins.
Elections Office—15 mins.
Clifton—15 mins.
CMU—55 mins.
Goodwill—1 hour

2:21 p.m. — Mesa County they have received about 6,000 ballots (electronic & paper) today so far. This puts turnout at more than 83 percent of active, registered voters.
Wait times:
Fairgrounds—5 mins. or less
Fruita—5 mins. or less
Clifton—15 mins.
Elections Office (200 S. Spruce)—20-25 mins.
CMU—35-45 mins.
Goodwill—1 hour
Now that the lunch rush is over, things are a little quieter at all of the voting locations. Wait times will increase around 5pm. If you can vote earlier, lines should be shorter.

1:57 p.m. — It may be tempting to snap a photo of your ballot and share how you voted on Facebook or Twitter, but that could be problematic in Colorado.

Colorado Revised Statutes state “no voter shall show his ballot after it is prepared for voting to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents” (Title 1: Elections, Article 13). Violating this rule can lead to a fine of up to $1,000, as much as a year in jail or a combination of a fine and jail time.

Poll watchers are also banned from having cell phones, cameras, recording devices, or personal digital assistants (PDAs) in a polling place, according to the Code of Colorado Regulations.

Other state election rules to follow: employers cannot prevent employees from leaving work to vote or post a notice warning that the business will close, reduce wages or reduce work levels if a certain candidate is elected. Also, it is a misdemeanor to interfere with a person while voting, campaigning within 100 feet of any building with a polling place is not allowed, and no one is permitted to bring into a polling place any “intoxicating malt, spirituous, or vinous” liquor.

1:32 p.m. — Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office has released the latest numbers on voter turnout. View at GovDelivery.com.

1:18 p.m— Goodwill continues to be the voting location with the longest wait time of over an hour, according to Jessica Peterson with Mesa County. Peterson highly suggests voters go to the Mesa County Fairgrounds, Fruita Civic Center or the Clifton location, as those lines are all very short at this time.

1:05 p.m. — The line to vote at Goodwill, 630 24 1/2 Road, continues to be the longest at any of Mesa County’s voter centers, and county officials are advising voters to consider alternate locations.

County spokeswoman Jessica Peterson reported at 1 p.m. that the wait at Goodwill continues to run an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Meanwhile, the lines are five minutes or less at the fairgrounds, the Fruita Civic Center and the Clifton Road and Bridge shop.

12:56 p.m. — At the Clifton Road and Bridge shop, 3202 C 1/2 Road, people were lined up even before the 7 a.m. opening.

By mid-morning, a few hundred had passed through the doors, volunteers said. And the line was moving steadily, with more than 50 people curving out about 80 feet.

Sara Tourney, a Mesa County employee and volunteer, said everything was going smoothly. Voters coming out the doors with smiles shared that sentiment, saying voting took a half-hour or less.

Just behind the cone with a no-electioneering sign, 100 feet from the entrance, Monica and Bill Solawetz, volunteers with Just Vote Colorado, answered questions and greeted voters. They wanted to make sure no one had any problems and everyone knew their rights.

Susan Valdez of Clifton said this was the first presidential election she could vote in and she convinced her fiance, Trevor Fettes, who accompanied her, to do the same. She wanted to make sure her voice was heard and, having voted in a previous local election she described as “hectic,” this one ran more efficiently, she said.

J.Q. Hanson, her husband, Brian, and children Joey, 6, and Diana, 2, made the trip together. They recently moved to Grand Junction from Oklahoma and scrambled to update their information to vote in Colorado.

“It went off without a hitch,” JQ said.

Next to her, Joey sported his mom’s ‘I voted’ sticker. He is home-schooled and it was fun to talk about it and have him come, she said.

“That’s just how America works,” said JQ, who added that she always votes. “We choose our government.”

Denise Benton of Fruitvale cast her ballot alongside her mom, Willa Hillis, who said she remembers voting when President Ronald Reagan was elected.
They said this year felt particularly important.

“I feel like Colorado is an important state,” Benton said. “Hopefully it meant something this time.”

12:17 p.m. — The thousands of voters who have lined up to cast their ballots this morning have bumped up turnout to 82 percent of active, registered voters, according to Mesa County spokeswoman Jessica Peterson. Just after noon, Peterson reported 2,327 people had voted in person thus far, while 2,831 had turned in mail ballots today. Turnout in Mesa County in the 2008 presidential election was 92 percent.

12:10 p.m. — Here is the latest update on voting wait times from the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder:
Fairgrounds—5 mins
Fruita Civic Center—5 mins
Election Office (200 S. Spruce)—15-20 mins
Clifton—20 mins.
CMU—30 mins.

12:07 p.m. — Mesa County posted on its Twitter feed at noon that voting lines at the Fruita Civic Center and the county fairgrounds were only 5 minutes. The Clifton Road & Bridge shop had a 20-minute wait, while the line at CMU was “longer.”

11:50 a.m. — Voters thinking about casting their ballots at Colorado Mesa University need not worry about getting a parking ticket. CMU isn’t ticketing anywhere on campus, so voters can use the parking garage at 12th Street and Kennedy Avenue without paying for a spot. Voting is taking place in the University Center ballroom, which is attached to the parking garage, until 7 p.m.

11:17 a.m. — There is a roughly 45-minute wait to vote at the Colorado Mesa University Center as students rush to the line during their lunch break. First-time voters Tony LaPorta, 19, of Windsor, and Marshall Anderson, 19, of Fort Collins, cast their ballots this morning.

Anderson said it was “invigorating” to vote in first election.

LaPorta was most excited to vote for president because he wants to “do whatever I can to change the way things are going.” Anderson added that within the past month CMU has been “saturated” by campaigners.

11 a.m. —By 10 a.m. about 400 voters had passed through the doors of the vote center center at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, and everything appeared to be running smoothly.

Victor Dominguez, a Job Corps volunteer from Collbran working his first election day, greeted voters at the door to facilitate the process. He also was in charge of making sure no campaigning went on within 100 feet of the building, and that if anyone came with a shirt or button in support of a candidate, it had to be turned around or taken off before entry.

After the 9 a.m. rush slowed, people were in and out of the election doors in about 15 to 20 minutes, Dominguez said.

“We’ve been loaded. I think we got the kind of turnout you’d expect. ... It shows people are really interested in what’s going on,” said Bob Erbisch, the supervisor on location at the fairgrounds.

After casting his vote, Jeff Burkhalter of Grand Junction said, “It’s important to vote. It doesn’t have a lot of bearing but it’s going to affect how the country goes for the next four years.”

The presidential race and Amendment 64, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana, were two issues voters remarked on.

David Dillard of Grand Junction came out of the doors with a smile on his face.

“We’re due for a change,” he said.

Local resident Julie Whiting has voted in every election since turning 18, but this was the first year she could do that with her daughter and daughter-in-law, 19-year-old Maren Whiting.

“It’s very important to vote and I want to make sure my vote counts,” Julie Whiting said.

Her daughter, Emily Whiting, 20, was accompanied by her 1-year-son Austin on her back.

“I’m excited that women even can vote and I want the future for Austin to be good. I want a say in it,” she said.

10:46 a.m. — Chris Tiller, 47, of Loma, said the voting process in Fruita this morning was “incredibly smooth.” Tiller has voted in every election since he was 18, including one year while serving active duty with the U.S. Marines in the mid-1980s.

“How can you not vote” as a military member, Tiller questioned. “That’s our Commander In Chief.” He has been around the world and said this country is special on days like today.

“People don’t understand what a privilege it is,” Tiller said. “I don’t care who you vote for. Just vote.”

10:36 a.m. — Young mother Becky Dark and friend Lori Scarrow waited more than an hour to cast votes at Goodwill. Scarrow said she waited in line to vote on Election Day because, “it’s exciting.” Dark waited because she wanted her daughters to experience Election Day.

9:40 a.m. — Line at Goodwill wraps around building. Overheard in the line, “This line is like Black Friday, only people are nicer.”

9:04 a.m. —. Wait times provided by the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office:
Clifton Road & Bridge Shop - 30 minute wait
Fruita Civic Center - 15 minute wait
Goodwill - 1 hour!
Elections Office - 15 minute wait
Orchard Mesa Fairgrounds - less than 15 minutes!

8:30 a.m. — According to early reports, long lines have formed at two of the voting centers this morning slowing traffic in those areas. The busiest voting centers are Goodwill Retail Center, 630 24 1/2 Road, and Clifton Road and Bridge Shop, 3202 C 1/2 Road, Clifton.

8 a.m. — Qdoba Rewards members should check their inbox for a special $6 burrito and drink offer valid today only. The coupon attached to the email is required.


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