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November 06, 2008 4:33 am

Voter turnout phenomenal'

Written by Tribune Staff

Election officials were ready for a massive voter turnout in Park County. Even so, that wasn't quite enough in Powell's Precinct 1.

Late Tuesday afternoon, election judges in Powell phoned the County Clerk's office in Cody to request more ballots. Headquarters quickly sent a load along.

Turnout in Precinct 1, which includes Northwest College and central, northern Powell, was exceptional. Some 519 voters showed up to vote, and only 416 had been registered at the start of the day. Those new registrations boosted the unofficial turnout to some 124 percent.

The rest of the county wasn't slacking, either.

Preliminary numbers from the county clerk's office show that 15,048 voters weighed in across the county.

With only 14,691 voters registered prior to Election Day, that tentatively pegs turnout at 102 percent.

No results will be official until the Park County canvassing board meets Friday morning and certifies them.

According to numbers from the Secretary of State's office, Wyoming as a state had a turnout rate around 105 percent.

However, only around 65 percent of all eligible voters participated in the election, meaning that around 35 percent of eligible Wyoming residents didn't register or vote.

County Clerk Kelly Jensen said the Park County numbers may be slightly inflated by some innacuracies in the number of new voters.

“There's a lot of voter maintenance we have to do right now,” she said.

However, she doesn't expect much of a dip in the numbers when all is said and done.

“I am really confident we'll have high 90s turnout,” she said.

No major problems were reported from Election Day, Jensen said, though there were a few minor glitches in election judge procedure.

At the Powell site there was some confusion over ballot sheathing and if it was possible to submit election ballots with either side up.

Write-in votes were scheduled to be read yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.

Two seats on the Crown Hill Cemetery District Board and a seat on the Northwest College Board from Meeteetse will be determined by write-ins.

Write-ins are only counted if they affect the results of a race, or if the candidate pays $25 and asks the clerk's office to count them. The deadline for a write-in candidate to make that request is 5 p.m. today (Thursday).