Summit County opens its doors to in-person voters on Election Day |

Summit County opens its doors to in-person voters on Election Day

Voters fill out electronic ballots at the Silverthorne Pavilion on Election Day 2016. Kailyn Lamb /

Hundreds of voters went old school this morning and cast their ballots in-person at Summit County polling places.

The Summit County Courthouse in Breckenridge, Silverthorne Pavilion and Summit County Community and Senior Center in Frisco all opened their doors at 7 a.m. to receive voters. The locations saw large lines early, with a calmer but still solid pace as the morning proceeded on.

Patricia McLaughlin, who has been an election judge in counties throughout the state for the last 50 years, stood at the top of the stairs in the Courthouse, directing people where to go and informing them about the quickest way to turn in their ballots.

As the line began piling up, McLaughlin entertained voters with a story about how she helped her father transport ballots in a little red wagon as a child. She joked that she had really been working with elections for 65 years.

Kathleen Neel, the County Clerk & Recorder, said that lines had been steady, but not beyond the local election office’s capabilities. Neel was at the Courthouse in Breckenridge, where the Clerk’s Office was closed for its typical duties. Staff instead concentrated on registering people to vote.

By 10:30 a.m., Neel said the county had processed nearly 12,000 mail-in ballots, and more than 1,000 in-person voters. Silverthorne, which Neel said is usually the busiest of the three in-person voting locations, saw 365 voters by noon.

Colorado is one of 13 states plus Washington D.C., that offers same-day registration. Clifton Ratliff, a two-year resident of Summit County, said it made things incredibly easy for him and his nephew, who was registering to vote for the first time.

“It makes it feel like a right to vote instead of a privilege,” Ratliff said. “They don’t suppress the vote here.”

Ratliff added that his father faced discrimination in the 1960s, making it difficult for him to vote as an African American. Because of this Ratliff said his father made sure he had registered to vote. Now, passing the torch onto the next generation, Ratliff insisted that his nephew register and vote in his first election this year.

McLaughlin said since in-person voter locations are able to help people register, they don’t have to turn people away. In turn, the three locations saw a steady stream of individuals registering to vote.

“It’s nice that they can not miss out,” Neel said.

Staff at the Silverthorne Pavilion predicted lines would begin to grow as the evening winds down to an end. All three locations are open until 7 p.m. tonight.

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