Early voting goes smoothly at polling places

Nov 6, 2012 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Election day in Riverton was going smoothly Tuesday morning, thanks in part to preparatory work completed Monday by Fremont County Clerk staff.

"We were so busy yesterday," Fremont Count Clerk Julie Freese said Tuesday, recalling at least two equipment issues that had to be addressed in Arapahoe and Lander. "We had it all ready to go before voters came in."

By mid-morning Tuesday she said activity at the polls had been steady. Despite full parking lots at some polling places, Freese said election volunteers were helping residents move through the voting process relatively quickly.

"It looks worse than it is," she said of the traffic. "It doesn't take very long (to vote). If there is a line, they get them through pretty fast."

The parking lot was crowded at the Fremont County Fairgrounds in Riverton, but no one seemed to be complaining. People waved to one another and chatted at the entrance to the Fremont Center while they waited for their turn at the ballot box.

"Everyone seems happy to be here," volunteer Clarice Strannigan said.

Many parents, like Frank Hernandez, walked in with their children in tow. Hernandez said he brought Enoch, 4, and Emirah, 2, to the Fremont Center both out of convenience and to let them see the election process.

"My wife's at work now, so it was either take them to stay with her or bring them with me," he said.


Election volunteers said they had been faced with a relatively constant stream of voters since polls opened at 7 a.m., though precinct 3-3 volunteer Christine Watne said Riverton's polling place was "packed" in the morning.

Precinct 3-4 volunteer Linda Bebout said the extra activity Tuesday was typical for a presidential election year.

"It's busy, busy, busy," she said.

Freese said her staff also has a lot to do on election Tuesdays.

"We get questions here, people dropping off absentee ballots," she said. "We'll have the absentee ballot board going at 9:30 a.m., they count all the absentees that we have."

Of the 3,600 absentee ballots that were distributed to Fremont County residents this year, Freese said she already had received 3,400 back as of Tuesday morning. And that was before the mail was delivered.

"We'll see how many of those actually come in," Freese said, anticipating an official report Tuesday evening.

A total of 16,220 people had registered in Fremont County before polls opened, including 452 people who registered after the August primary.

"There were a lot of people that did register at the last minute," Freese said, adding that registration also is possible at the polls.

In 2008, 16,903 people had registered before election day, with 2,770 filling out their registration forms at the polls. For 2004's presidential race, 16,468 Fremont County voters registered before election day, and 2,712 registered at the polls.

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