Archive for Thursday, August 1, 1996

ADVANCE VOTING OFFERED SATURDAY

August 1, 1996

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The Douglas County Courthouse will be open briefly Saturday for people who want to vote in advance of the election.

The number of people taking advantage of the state's new advance voting law continues to surprise Douglas County Clerk Patty Jaimes.

Since July 17, when the 20-day advance voting period started, 681 voters have cast ballots either by mail or in person for next Tuesday's primary election, which features races for two U.S. Senate seats, Jaimes said.

"I'm certainly pleased with the numbers," she said.

Jaimes, who voted early herself, said 451 voters have been at the courthouse to cast ballots in person. Three voting booths have been set up on the second floor in the county commission meeting room.

"The biggest day was last Friday, when we had 87," she said.

Registered voters may vote in person between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. today and Friday and from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The deadline for voting in advance at the courthouse is noon Monday.

Polling places around the city will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the primary election day.

Jaimes said that so far, she hasn't made a projection for voter turnout in Tuesday's election.

She said she has traditionally based the turnout numbers on how many people ask for absentee ballots. However, absentee ballots have been replaced by advanced voting. And she's not sure if she can use the advance voting tallies to make a prediction.

She said those voting in advance already surpassed the number of absentee ballots cast for all but one primary in the last 10 years. In 1986, there were 457 absentee ballots, 579 in 1988, 850 in 1990 (when a county-wide sales tax issue was on the ballot), 518 in 1992 and 602 in 1984.

Statewide, Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh's office projected a 47 percent turnout for the primary because of the two contested U.S. Senate seats and advance voting.

Of Douglas County's 46,522 registered voters, 16,521 are Republicans, 13,419 are Democrats, 15,880 are unaffiliated, 700 are Libertarians and two belong to the Reform Party.

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