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Voting

A voter fills out his ballot Tuesday at Casper College's Thunderbird Gym. Voter turnout appeared "very strong," according to a county elections official. 

Election Day in Natrona County went off without a hitch, the county’s election officer Chris Lindsey said Wednesday.

Long lines and broken machines plagued voters in some parts of the country, but Lindsey said neither was a problem in Natrona County.

“Everything went real slick,” she said.

Official data was not yet available, but Lindsey said voter turnout appeared to be “very strong” throughout the county.

The elections officer said many north Casper residents appreciated that they no longer had to leave their neighborhood to cast a ballot. The former Roosevelt High School — located on the corner of North Wolcott and K streets— resumed being used as a polling place for north Casper this year after the polling station was closed in 2016.

“We have quite a few people who like to walk (to the polls) because a lot of them don’t have vehicles,” Lindsey said.

The elections officer said she received a few complaints about street closures surrounding the school.

Alex Sveda, the city’s associate engineering, said Wednesday that portions of K Street were closed due to ongoing construction.

Lindsey said information about the street closure and the best alternative routes were posted on the county’s website. However, the elections office did not post signs in the construction area to direct voters around the detour.

About 400 residents who used to vote at the facility were re-routed to the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds after the school shut its doors in 2016. But the Casper Housing Authority later purchased the property and gave the county permission to use it as a polling spot this year.

Some north Casper residents worried in 2016 that losing Roosevelt High School as a polling place would depress voter turnout.

“For the neighborhood and everybody it was convenient,” resident Steve Schauss previously said. “Now, they just don’t vote.”

College of Charleston political science chair H. Gibbs Knotts has researched the impact of polling place location on voter turnout and found that people were significantly less likely to vote the farther they had to travel.

Far-flung polls were more likely to hurt lower income neighborhoods like north Casper, Knotts previously told the Star-Tribune.

“These costs impact lower-income folks at higher rates,” Knotts said. “It’s just easier for somebody who has a higher socioeconomic status to have the transportation, or be able to juggle their schedule, than somebody who is on the clock or has transportation challenges.”

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Follow city reporter Katie King on twitter @KatieKingCST

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Local Government Reporter

Katie King joined the Star-Tribune in 2017 and primarily covers issues related to local government. She previously worked as a crime reporter in the British Virgin Islands. Originally from Virginia, Katie is a graduate of James Madison University.

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