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Early Voting Underway In Colorado

Lance Hernandez, The DenverChannel 7NEWS    21 October 2008

DENVER Early voting is underway in Colorado and election officials are encouraging voters to do just that.

In Denver, the polling center at election headquarters opened at 8 a.m. The remaining early voting polling centers opened at 11 a.m.

"Perfect! Early voting, A-plus, plus," said Joseph Newman, who spent all of 10 minutes signing up, filling out his ballot and sliding it into the box.

Pamela Free spent a little more time at the Webb Municipal Office Building casting her ballot.

"There was about a 20-minute wait," Free said. "But I was able to see a senator behind me and the governor walked in, so that was kind of exciting."

Gov. Bill Ritter stood in line for about 30 minutes then took about 5 minutes in the booth.

He encouraged all registered Coloradans to take advantage of early voting, or voting by mail.

"It could alleviate long lines on Nov. 4," he said.

Denver Clerk and Recorder Stephanie O'Malley said the city has more than doubled the number of voting booths to cut back on wait times.

"We went from 1,200 voting machines to 2,700 voting booths in this model. We certainly are sensitized to not having unreasonable lines at our polling locations," O'Malley said.

There were some complaints on day one. Some voters who showed up at Manual High School were told there weren't enough ballots.

"How could they run out when they'd only been open one hour," said Cat Madore, a resident of the Whittier/Five Points neighborhood.

"No election is perfect," said Election Division spokesman Alton Dillard.

Dillard told 7NEWS that if you live in Denver, you can vote at any of the early voting locations. But you have to vote on a ballot that includes your state house or senate district. Apparently, not every polling location had ballots for every district.

Madore said she went back to Manual High early in the evening, "and they still didn't have the right ballots." She said an election judge told her they were going to have to get some printed.

Voters have the option of going to another early voting location in the city, or they can use an electronic voting machine.

Madore said she doesn't trust the electronic machines, so she'll wait for a paper ballot.

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