Mesa County Vote Center Problems Traced to Insufficient Polling Places

Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Janice Ward Rich says problems encountered by some voters yesterday were not with the electronic vote machines but with computers used to verify voter registration.

However, she says that had nothing to do with the wait some people were experiencing later in the day, where lines stretched out the door at both Mesa State College and Redlands Middle School even as polls closed at 7PM. Those people did get to vote per state law.

Rich says that's the kind of problem she hopes will be solved by the next major election as the Elections Department asks the Mesa Country Board Of Commissioners for funding to add two more vote centers to the 20 already in operation.

20 vote centers were approved by the Board of Commissioners in July of 2005 at a cost of 1.1 million dollars.

Rich says election officials will do an in-depth study of vote center usage to study where more machines need to be added and others can be removed.

Rich says she was surprised that 16-thousand voters came to the polls Tuesday, or 22 pr cent of registered voters in the county. Added to the 42 per cent using early or absentee ballots meant 64 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, something Rich attributes to the intensity of campaigning in the state.