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Gazette Premium Content July 12 the deadline to register for primary vote

TOM ROEDER Updated: July 8, 2010 at 12:00 am

People who want to vote in the Aug. 10 primary election have until Monday register.

The election has high stakes for Republicans, who will pick candidates for U.S. Senate, governor, state treasurer and El Paso County sheriff. Democrats here have one race to decide, but picking their candidate for U.S. Senate will likely draw many to the polls.

The primary is a partisan affair, with voters required to pick an affiliation before casting a ballot. While voters can pick that affiliation at the polls, primaries still draw small turnouts in El Paso County, where unaffiliated voters outnumber those tied to either major party.

While the primary will set the ballot for the state’s biggest races, Liz Olson, elections manager for the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder, said she isn’t seeing long lines of would-be voters looking to get registered.

“It’s been quiet around here,” she said.

Registering to vote has never been easier in Colorado. At the state’s Web site, govotecolorado.com, residents can sign up to vote with a minimum of key strokes.

Most counties in Colorado will rely solely on mail ballots for the primary. But most voters in El Paso County will cast their ballot the old-fashioned way, at the polls. Those who have signed up for mail ballots will get them in the mail after July 19.

The partisan nature of the primary traditionally leads to a low turnout, said Christy Le Lait, executive director for the Democratic Party in El Paso County.

But the seriousness of primary races this year could turn that around, said Andy Merritt, who heads the local Republican Party.

The GOP Senate race is expected to be close, with Weld County prosecutor Ken Buck facing former lieutenant governor Jane Norton. The governor’s race for the GOP pits Evergreen businessman Dan Maes against former congressman Scott McInnis in a contest that has drawn a lot of attention from the Tea Party movement.

For the Democrats, incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet faces former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff. Romanoff is backed by former President Bill Clinton. Bennet is backed by President Barack Obama.

The sole El Paso County primary contest features incumbent Sheriff Terry Maketa and Monument’s police chief, Jake Shirk, both Republicans.

For voting information, call the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder at 575-8683.

TELLER, TOO
Teller County Republican voters will have significant races on the Aug. 10 primary ballot.
In addition to picking candidates for governor and U.S. Senate, primary races there include the county clerk and recorder, county assessor and county sheriff.
For more information on the Teller primaries, go to www.co.teller.co.us/CR/ or call (719) 689-2951.

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