Natrona County Clerk Prepares For Primary Elections; Absentee Voting Has Been Strong
Voters in 20 precincts within Casper City limits will cast their primary ballots at two new and consolidated polling places on Tuesday.
County workers were setting up the portable voting booths, computers, voting machines and other equipment for 14 precincts in Wards I and II for central and west Casper at the Natrona County Fairgrounds Industrial Building on Monday.
Workers were doing the same at the Restoration Church, 411 S. Walsh Drive, for six precincts in east Casper.
"There's plenty of room for everyone," Natrona County Clerk Renea Vitto said Monday. "I don't think they're going to see a lot of lines."
When voters from those precincts enter the Industrial Building and church, they will see check-in tables at the front, and other tables with poll workers to help people if they've changed addresses or other information, Vitto said. "There's 20 people who can help them right off the bat."
Poll workers will give voters labels and will instruct them to go to the voting booths in the proper precinct areas marked by large banners, she said.
Vitto, with the approval of the Natrona County Commission in March, authorized the consolidation of the 20 precincts at schools within Casper City limits. Voters had complained for years about the hassles at some schools including parking, access for the handicapped, and even basketballs bouncing through the voting areas. Construction and tightened school security aggravated those problems, Vitto said.
Seven precincts within the city will not change, nor will polling places outside city limits with two construction-related exceptions for the primary only:
- Those who vote at the Red Creek School will cast their ballots at the Price Ranch, 15520 Wyoming Highway 487.
- Bar Nunn School voters will vote at the Bar Nunn Fire Hall, 1705 Sunset Blvd.
All polling places within city limits were consolidated for the smoking referendum Nov. 17.
The primary will be easier, Vitto said. During the referendum, poll workers had to sift through large poll ledgers to find voters' names. This time, information will be on computers, Vitto said.
Absentee voting for the primary began July 7 and ends at 5 p.m. today at the old courthouse at 200 N. Center St.
When the primary absentee ballots are counted -- not tabulated, that happens beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday -- Vitto expects about 4,000 people will have cast absentee ballots, which is about a third more than usual.
Primary elections usually don't attract large numbers of voters, Vitto said.
"I think if we get 57 percent, that's really good because people know they aren't voting for president and feel like they just don't have a need to go out and vote in the primary," she said. "They generally tell us they'll wait for the general election in November."
For more information, go to the Natrona County Clerk's Elections website.