El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman: thinking outside the big box

El Paso County’s newest 24-7 ballot box is huge, and was custom made to accommodate all the ballots received at the East Library location. (EPC photo)

When it comes to elections, El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman can now boast opening the first 24-hour vehicle registration kiosk in the state and installing the largest ballot-drop box in Colorado – and possibly the country.

The kiosk opened one week ago today and someone took advantage of it at 1:50 a.m. the next day. Broerman joked that he’s not sure if a customer wanted to see if the kiosk truly was a 24-7 operation, or if he or she was doing some bar hopping and realized the car tags were expired.

As for what is Broerman is calling The MOAB  — The Mother of All Ballot Boxes — it was a custom built and is 68 percent larger by volume than the largest industry box. That’s a whole lot box but it was needed for a whole lot of customers. Broerman said the 24-hour ballot box at East Library in Colorado Springs was so heavily used it had to be emptied four or five times a day.

When he talked with Fort Knox Ballot Box Co. he was told that the box at the library already was the biggest one the company makes. The company came up with a couple of custom designs.

“They offered to make an even bigger box than the one we selected but it was so massive I thought we were going to have to have an FAA-approved landing light on it,” Broerman said, with a laugh.

El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman. (SOS photo)

In addition, Broerman is showing off the new election equipment the county purchased from Dominion Voting Systems, the firm Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams chose after four voting companies participated in a pilot test program in 2015. Broerman sat on the committee overseeing the pilot program.

Counties weren’t required to move to the new system, but 54 clerks have gone to Dominion because of the price for equipment that Williams was able to negotiate and because the clerks who were using it raved about the system.

“While county elections officials previously had to feed ballots into scanners one by one, the new machines will allow them to process entire batches at once,” Rachel Riley of the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. “Instead of scanning about 500 ballots in an hour, each staffer will be able to scan about 3,500 to 4,000.”

As for the kiosk, it features a touch screen for users to type in their license plate number, or scan the bar code on the side of their renewal card. Customers are then given the chance to review their vehicle record and make a payment for taxes and fees by credit/debit card, cash or check. Once the transaction is complete, the kiosk prints out a new registration, the license plate year tab, and a receipt for the payment.

KOAA TV in Colorado Springs covered the kiosk’s opening:

As for the kiosk, it features a touch screen for El Paso County resident to type in their license plate number, or scan the bar code on the side of their renewal card. Customers are then given the chance to review their vehicle record and make a payment for taxes and fees by credit/debit card, cash or check. Once the transaction is complete, the kiosk prints out a new registration, the license plate year tab, and a receipt for the payment.

Residents of El Paso County may use the kiosk if the vehicle registration is in El Paso County, and is for an automobile, pickup, motorcycle, coach/park trailer. Customers may renew during the month prior to the expiration month, in the expiration month, and within the 30-day grace period — but no later than the last day of the month following the expiration month.

“Vehicle registration renewal kiosks are the next major step forward in providing accessible, customer-centric motor vehicle services for our citizens,” Broerman said, in a statement.  “We are not your typical motor vehicle office; we are proud to be an organization that continues to revolutionize the way that our citizens experience government.”

Vehicle owners can also renew  by mail, in person or online at www.colorado.gov/renewplates,