Primary election voting traffic was relatively light at several polling places in Natrona County on Tuesday, and several poll workers attributed that to the high number of voters who requested absentee ballots.

"It's slow this year," said Ronda Stienmetz, election manager at the Restoration Church, 411 S. Walsh Drive, which hosts six precincts.

"They said 30% already did their voting from these precincts," Stienmetz said, citing county officials.

The 30% rate at the church corresponded with 8,377 of the 27,211 registered voters in Natrona County requesting absentee ballots. County Clerk Tracy Good said Monday that the requests were far higher than previous years, and she attributed that to people concerned about COVID-19.

The low numbers compared with previous primary elections also were down at the newly renovated Industrial Building at the Fairgrounds, said Natrona County Information Technology Department Director Eileen Hill.

As of 11:30 a.m., 695 people had voted at the consolidated polling places at the Fairgrounds or about 29 voters per hour compared to about 200 voters per hour in the 2016 primary, according to information from Hill.

At the same time at the Restoration Church, 358 people had voted, or about 15 voters per hour, compared to about 100 voters per hour in the 2016 primary.

Voting also was slow at the commons room at St. Patrick's Church, 400 Country Club Road. That one precinct has about 2,500 registered voters, and 650 absentee ballots had been received there as of noon, election worker Jennifer Jones said.

The Natrona County Clerk's Office moved the polling place to there from the Community Health Center of Central Wyoming because of the health center's concerns about COVID-19.

Stienmetz and Jennifer Mitchell, election coordinator at St. Patrick's Church, said most voters wore masks and everybody was courteous with the social distancing requirements.

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