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Early voters is popular in county

by Merrie Leininger

Early voting got off to a fast and furious start, said Douglas County Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Reed.

The first day of early voting was Saturday and the office processed a total of 579 voters. On Monday, 396 voters cast their ballots.

“I would say most of them definitely know how they are going to vote and are ready to cast their ballot and have this election over with. I am ready, too,” Reed said with a laugh.

Reed said she believes move than 5,000 people will have voted by the time early voting ends Friday, Nov. 3. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.

“It is higher than two years ago, and I think even higher than four years ago,” Reed said. “When we get to the end, I think this will be the biggest year for early voting. Just by memory, I think four years ago, we were about 3,800 at the end of early voting. Two years ago, we had a little over 2,000. I remember thinking we had almost double during an presidential election year.”

Reed said almost everyone who has come in to vote in the past few days has brought their sample ballots with them. The ballot is mailed to registered voters to let them know the candidates and issues they will vote on. Early voting times and polling locations are listed on the sample ballot.

“Most everyone has brought the sample ballot with them. I have heard very favorable comments, like it is easy to read and very clear,” Reed said.

She said the absentee ballot requests have also been high this year.

“We have mailed over 2,350 ballots, so we’ve been busy with that. This is the first year we had people e-mailing us, requesting ballots from Guam, New Jersey, Alaska, Georgia, from all over the country,” Reed said.

This is also the first year Douglas County is participating in a program that provides metal buttons to voters to encourage participation.

Reed said she thinks the program originated in Delaware and Congress approved the program.

“Douglas County is participating in a national program to get out the vote and to show it is a new century and there is new voter interest. We are the only county in the state that is giving out metal buttons. I think they are going to be collectors’ items. Everybody who comes down to vote will get one,” Reed said.

She said the buttons cost the county $400 and read, “I vote – 2000.”

Reed said anyone who didn’t get a sample ballot should call her office at 782-9020 to ensure they have the correct address.