Natrona County Prepped for Election; Absentee Voting Is Up
The Natrona County Clerk's Office, which oversees elections, is in the final days of preparations for the general election on Tuesday.
But the voters at the polls throughout the county -- from Casper to about 65 miles north in the area of the former Willow Creek School -- may not be as many as in the past because of the higher than usual number of absentee ballots cast in the past 45 days.
"As of yesterday, being Thursday, we had 5,394 ballots that were received in the building," County Clerk Renea Vitto said.
About 300 voters a day have been voting at the Clerk's Office at the Old Courthouse, 200 N. Center St., in the remaining days before the general election, she said.
By the end of Monday, she expects upwards of 6,500 absentee ballots returned, which would be from 16 percent to 19 percent of the approximately 33,700 registered voters in Natrona County, Vitto said.
Absentee voting ends at her office at 5 p.m. Monday, so voters then must go to the polls on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Clerks' staff will setting up the voting machines, tables and computers at the polls on Sunday and Monday for when the polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday, she said.
Tuesday, the Clerk's staff open the absentee ballots after the polls open, Vitto said.
"Once we're done, we can run them all through the (central count) machine, but we cannot tabulate (votes) until the polls close at 7 p.m.," Vitto said. "So we are hoping we have those results no later than 7:15 -- the absentees."
She acknowledged her office has had problems with timely posting of the election results.
Sometimes people helping with the computers are new and are cautious about not wanting to make mistakes, Vitto said.
Two years ago, there was a reporting glitch with the statistical counter that wasn't installed before the staff ran the results, so those results were manually entered, she said.
"I know we're not going to have those two problems again, but you never know, there might be something that causes us to have delays," Vitto said.