Voter turnout better than numbers show: Teller County votes overwhelmingly GOP

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With 19,945 registered voters in Teller County and 12,324 ballots cast, the voter turnout for the Nov. 6 General Election was 61.34 percent. Most people would consider that a good turnout but when the number of ballots cast is compared to the number of active voters in the county, 14,202, the turnout was even better, 86.78 percent.

County election Director Al Davidson said the election was a great success with no unpleasant surprises.

“We're very pleased,” he said. “We had good mail in numbers and about 2,000 early votes, plus around 3,000 voters at the polls on election day. Our longest waits were only about 10 minutes at the busiest times of the day.”

The fact that it takes some time to count mail-in ballots was typical for these kinds of elections, he said.

“That's the nature of mail ballots,” he said. “You get the last of them on Election Day and it takes time to count them. Still we had our count to the state before half of the other counties in the state reported.”

Considering that the U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 estimate of Teller County's population was 23,356 and 20 percent of its citizens were too young to vote, about two-thirds of Teller County citizens voted in the general election.

“We had a lot of first-time voters who were very excited about participating in the process,” Davidson said. “We also had 30 student election judges. They have to be at least 16 years old and they were working for volunteer credits. It's an eye-opener for these kids to see what goes on in an election.”

While about two-thirds of the voters supported GOP candidates, sometimes there were no choices. Candidates running unopposed were Marc Dettenrieder with 8,756 votes for County Commissioner Dist. 1, Norm Steen with 8,522 votes for commissioner district 3 and 4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May with 8,841 votes.

There were 16 candidates for president on this year's ballot. President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney took the lion's share of the votes but the other candidates received a total of 395 votes: 211 for Libertarian Gary Johnson, 40 for American Constitution Party candidate Virgil Good, 39 for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, 25 for Peace and Freedom Party candidate Roseanne Barr and 54 votes for various write-in candidates, one of which was rumored to be Scooby Do. One might consider these votes as an endorsement for “none of the above.”

While the majority of Teller County voters voted on the conservative side of the ballot, they didn't vote that way on constitutional Amendment 64 legalizing marijuana, Amendment 65 setting limits on campaign finances from corporations or on the revenue hike for Northeast Teller County Fire Protection District.

Final vote tallies will be determined on Nov. 16 during the county canvass but, with fewer than 100 provisional ballots to count there should be no change in the winners and losers categories.

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