High voter turnout for Park County’s midterms

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Undeterred by blowing snow and icy roads, nearly 12,000 Park County residents participated in Tuesday’s general election.

“I would say voter turnout was good — and especially for the weather turning so bad in the later [part of the] day,” said Park County Clerk Colleen Renner.

Of course, more than a quarter of local voters avoided Tuesday’s storm by choosing to vote early.

All told, 11,913 ballots were cast in Park County, which represented about half (a little less than 51 percent) of the voting age population. That beat Wyoming as a whole, which saw a little less than half — around 46.4 percent — of voting age residents casting ballots.

As is always the case, turnout was up significantly from August’s primary, which drew 8,339 voters in Park County.

Renner called the turnout “pretty high” for a midterm election. Participation rebounded from the last midterm election in 2014, in which fewer than 9,700 voters participated in what was the worst showing in decades.

Participation did drop significantly from 2016’s general election, however. After a record 15,311 Park County voters headed to the polls for the presidential election two years ago, nearly 3,400 fewer people showed up for this year’s midterms.

Renner said that, outside of the weather, the election went smoothly.

Results were slightly delayed because of the additional time it took to gather up and drive the Powell area’s results to the Park County Courthouse on bad roads. First Deputy Clerk Hans Odde, who’s worked elections in the Big Horn Basin since 2004, said it was his first time dealing with an Election Day snowstorm.

Tuesday marked the last election for the county’s aging voting machines. The company that services the equipment, Election Systems & Software “is now done with these machines,” Renner said. “They will not service them any more.”

She said clerks across the state are working with state lawmakers on getting replacements for the 2020 election.

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