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November 04, 2008 3:01 am

It's Election Day

Written by Tribune Staff

Twelve open-poll hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. today (Tuesday) will determine much of Wyoming's governance over coming years.

State voters will help pick the United States' next president and choose which three candidates will represent Wyoming in Congress.

The high stakes and a couple tight races are expected to contribute to a big showing at the polls.

“We definitely are expecting an incredible turnout,” said Park County Clerk Kelly Jensen.

The clerk's office has printed many extra ballots in preparation for a surge of new voters.

“Park County historically just has phenomenal turnouts, and based on absentee voting, this particular election has a lot interest (for) voters of all ages,” she said.

A record number of Park County voters requested absentee ballots this cycle. The clerk's office sent out 4,206 ballots, and some 3,825 had been cast as of Monday morning.

That means roughly 26 percent of the county's voters have already weighed in.

Voter registration statistics show that since 2006, Democrats have slightly boosted their numbers, while Republicans' ranks have dipped.

Still, the Dems face steep odds: more than three in four registered voters in Park County — close to 77 percent — are GOP members.

Democrats account for 14 percent, unaffiliated voters around 9 percent, and the county's 77 Libertarians account for a half a percentage point of the vote.

Overall, at around 14,800 voters, Park County's registrations are down from 2006 — when there were 15,325 voters. However, Jensen said the ‘06 numbers may have been inflated with voters that have since moved on. She said a new, more accurate voter database software has been installed since then.

If you're not a registered voter, you can register at the polls.

If you are a registered voter, but need to change your name or address, bring identification. A driver's license will do the trick, or it's also possible to provide two forms of alternate ID, such as a Social Security card and a utility bill.

Jensen describes voting as an “absolute right and privilege.”

“Somehow not taking the time or the energy to vote is disrespectful ... to what people have done in the whole history of this nation to ensure that we get to vote,” she said.

Jensen doesn't buy the excuse that a vote isn't going to make a difference.

“If you live by the idea that your vote doesn't count, you're guaranteeing that it never will,” she said.

Those living in or around Powell should vote at the Park County Fairgrounds on Fifth Street. In-town residents vote in the Large Exhibit Hall while those dwelling out of town vote in the Multi-Purpose Building. Folks from Willwood cast their ballots at the Willwood Irrigation District office. Clark citizens can vote at the Pioneer Recreation Center. Ralston residents can vote at the Mountain View Club. Garland voters should head to the Garland Community Church.

If you don't know where to vote, call the clerk's election department at 754-8620.