Mesa County cuts number of vote centers
Mesa County will reduce the number of vote centers where citizens can cast their ballots this November and boost early voting hours, a continuing sign that more people are making their selections prior to Election Day.
County elections staff told commissioners Monday they will operate 21 vote centers on Nov. 2. That’s four fewer than the presidential election of 2008 but one more than the gubernatorial election of 2006.
Two of the vote centers will move to new locations. The longtime vote center at Mesa Mall, the second-most popular in the election two years ago, will be moved to Goodwill on 24 1/2 Road just north of the mall. Clerk and Recorder Janice Rich said the county was unable to secure a long-term commitment for space at the mall.
The vote center at Mesa State College will move from Saunders Fieldhouse to the new College Center. The gymnasium wasn’t available, and Rich said college officials have assured the county the College Center, which is still under construction, will be open by Election Day.
A Citizens’ Election Review Committee supported the number and locations of vote centers.
Meanwhile, as they have in years past, commissioners approved expanding early voting hours beyond the Clerk and Recorder’s Office’s normal business hours for the two weeks leading up to the election. Five early voting centers will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 18–22 and Oct. 25–29. In addition, the county courthouse will be open for early voting Saturday, Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The vast majority of people are expected to mail in their ballots. A total of 53 percent of the county’s 71,112 active voters are registered as permanent, mail-in voters. The percentage of people who vote by mail is expected to increase from 36 percent in 2006 — the last gubernatorial election — to 76 percent this year. In contrast, the percentage of voters who will wait to decide until Election Day is forecast to drop from 34 percent four years ago to 12 percent this year.
“As mail-in voting has become more popular, we are seeing less people wait to vote on Election Day,” Elections Director Catherine Lenhart told commissioners.