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Early voter turnout strong and steady in Ada County

There certainly are several things on the ballot that could be driving this enthusiastic turnout -- the governor's race as well as two controversial ballot initiatives: Medicaid expansion and historical horse racing. (CBS 2 photo)

The turnout for early voting is making heads turn at the Ada County Elections Office.

"I'm taken aback quite frankly," says Ada County Clerk Chris Rich. "We knew in the primary the general election would be big, but we didn't anticipate it would be this large. We're bringing in extra temporary workers, and putting in extra hours."

There certainly are several things on the ballot that could be driving this enthusiastic turnout -- the governor's race as well as two controversial ballot initiatives: Medicaid expansion and historical horse racing.

And then there's a lot of interest in national politics.

So how big is the turnout?

At last count, some 13,000 people had cast early ballots at the polls in Ada County, Rich says.

Some 27,000 ballots have been mailed out.

Around 10,000 have been sent back and are counted as votes cast.

With the mail ballots still to be returned, Rich says there's the potential 40,000 votes may have been cast so far, numbers that parallel a presidential election not necessarily a gubernatorial race.

"And we've still got two days this week, plus Saturday and next week for people to go to voting sites," Rich says. "We could pick up another 20,000 people."

And many political observers expect this brisk turnout will continue on Nov. 6.

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