From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 105, Number 42 - October 16, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

County sees decline in registered voters

by Jonathan Van Dyke

While the rest of the country appears to have election fever, Sublette County has actually seen a drop in registered voters since the 2004 election.

“We usually have quite a few people that register at the primary, and since we had such a poor turnout at the primary, I think that we will probably see that group of folks at the general election and registering then,” County Clerk Mary Lankford said.

During the primary only about 48 percent of registered voters went to the polls, significantly down for a county that is used to seeing that number closer to 80 percent.

The early registration period ended earlier this month, and as of Oct. 13 there were 3,734 registered voters in Sublette County. During the last presidential election in 2004, the county had 3,935 registered voters.

Of the newest numbers, democrats made significant gains in the county, raising their totals from 414 to 456. Western Wyoming’s independent streak also showed, with unaffiliated voters increasing by about 65 percent to 326. Republicans dropped from 3,301 to 2,943.

“I think we have more democrats now than what we used to,” Lankford said. “We have a lot of folks that won’t declare a party when they register.”

Demographically, Sublette County’s largest voting bloc is the 50 and older set at 2,160, while those 30 to 49 comprise half of that. Those 30 and younger totaled 361.

Despite early signs that fewer voters will be involved with this election, the county clerk’s office has reason to be optimistic. So far, about 450 absentee ballots have been tallied — or about 10 percent of the electorate.

“We’ve been really busy with absentees,” Lankford said. “Typically for the presidential election years we are busy because snowbirds are gone and that type of thing.”

This year, however, Lankford has seen particular interest from those out of county in the military.

“They will e-mail me a registration and a copy of their picture ID and the whole bit, and I can get it within 12 hours from Baghdad,” Lankford said. “That’s pretty amazing.”

This year the ballot will include a variety of important issues beyond the presidential election. Voters will also choose a Sublette County Commissioner, a representative for House District 22, whether to continue with the lodging tax and whether to pass the one percent special purpose excise tax for community centers on both sides of the county.

While early registration has closed, those eligible can still vote absentee up until the Nov. 4 election, and those interested may also register to vote the day of the election.

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