by Ralph Routon
Early voting in the 2010 general election might have been a convenience to about 3 percent of El Paso County's registered voters, but that's all. The rest are either voting by mail ballot, in person on election day ... or not at all.
As of 2:30 p.m. this afternoon, County Elections Manager Liz Olson reports that 10,470 voters have taken advantage of early voting, a tiny fraction of the county's 370,000 registered voters. By comparison, at the same time, Olson says that 82,694 mail ballots had been returned, with thousands arriving every day.
In fact, Olson predicts that only about 50,000 county voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballots, compared to 97,000 just four years ago in the last "mid-term" election of 2006 that also included state officials.
Olson hesitates in forecasting the total turnout by Tuesday night, but when assured that nobody will hold her to any guesses, she figures that the total number — now just over 93,000 — could rise to somewhere around 175,000 to 180,000, which would be more than 45 percent.
One concern that Olson and both major parties' officials share is the fact that many polling places have changed for this election, because lots of precincts have been combined. So instead of 187 polling places, there will be only 102.
To avoid confusion in finding your correct voting location Tuesday, go to car.elpasoco.com/election./2010+Polling+Locations.htm. Or call 575-8683.