According to Quay County Clerk Jeannette Maddaford, roughly 20 percent of the registered voters in Quay County have already voted.
Maddaford said 692 people have voted early in person and another 542 have voted by absentee ballot combining for 1,234 voters voting which works out to 19.77 percent of the 6,241 registered voters. Maddaford also said that it looks like more people will vote via absentee ballot than have ever before also. She said already more people have requested absentee ballots than have before. Her staff agrees with her. “Oh my gosh,” said Assistant Quay County Clerk Ellen White, “we’ve almost been overwhelmed by voting, If its not someone coming in to vote, someone is calling to request an absentee ballot or its college kids logging in and requesting ballots. We’ve been going constantly.”
While the clerk’s office is open until 5 p.m. for early voting, both Maddaford and White have been staying hours later to get needed ballots to absentee voters who have requested ballots either by phone, letter or on the website.
The women working in the county clerk’s office say that the numbers coming in and out of their office to vote is quite impressive.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. That’s for sure,” said White.
Maddaford agreed with her assistant.
“There definitely is a high interest in this election,” said Maddaford. “I believe this is partly due to the media saying it will be a close election. Due to this, everyone wants to make a difference in seeing that their choice wins.”
Both women and the rest of the staff in the office said that there was no clear way to classify the voters coming in as young, old, professional or retired. “It’s a complete cross section,” said Maddaford of the people who come into office.
Maddaford said the only unifying factor is that all of the people coming in want to vote.
For Motor Transportation Officer Daniel Gonzales, early voting provided him with the chance to be certain that he was able to vote. “I’m in and out of town a lot,” said Gonzales about going by the clerk’s office to vote, “and I didn’t want to miss voting.” For Tracy and Hershell Gates, early voting provided them with a number of favorable alternatives they found preferable to waiting until Nov. 2.
“Well,” said Tracy Gates, “We’re avoiding crowds, also it’s a lot more convenient. I like to do it when I can.
Gates also said that getting it done now does not permit her to put it off until the last moment and then forget it.
For teacher Karen Smith, the decision to vote early was taken as a safety measure. She said she was afraid that she might be sick or out of town on election day.
“And I want to make sure my vote counts,” said Smith. “I think it is important that everybody votes.”
Maddaford said the last day to cast an early vote is Saturday, Oct. 30. She said on that Saturday the clerk’s office will be open until 6 p.m. Maddaford also said the last day to request an absentee ballot is Thursday, Jan. 28.