A cold wind blew leaves across the Chaffee County courthouse lawn on Monday as Clerk and Recorder Lori Mitchell told Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams how Salida’s municipal election has voters fired up.
“There’s a difference of opinion on the direction the city should go,” Mitchell said, noting each of the three ward races are contested as is the mayor’s race.
As if on cue, Salida resident Sandra Hobbs got out of her vehicle and walked up to the 24-hour ballot box located outside the courthouse.
“It’s been something else,” she said of the city election.
Here’s Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ version of spring break: Visited nine county clerks. Checked out five newspaper offices. Attended three Go Code Colorado competitions. Spoke at one Club 20 event.
That night, Williams ate dinner in Durango with La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Parker — he visited her office Friday afternoon, too — and by the next morning he was ready to hit the road to talk with three other county clerks.
“Last year I met with all the new county clerks in their offices and this year and I am continuing to go meet with county clerks,” Williams said. “By going to their offices I get a better understanding of their set-ups and their challenges to ensure we are helping meet their needs.”
Logan County has gone to drive-by voting, with Clerk and Recorder Pam Bacon installing a new ballot drop box that allows voters to pull up and drop off their ballots.
Bacon also got the OK from Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office to make it a “multi-use box” so that county residents can drop off their motor-vehicle registrations.
Other county clerks also use 24-hour ballot boxes, which under secretary of state rules must be monitored by surveillance cameras with the data being preserved for 25 months. It is illegal to drop off more than 10 ballots at a time, and the outside of the envelopes must be signed by the voter in order to be counted, state elections director Judd Choate said.
According to the Sterling-Journal Advocate, Bacon also reached out to the other county departments, with Treasurer Patty Bartlett believing the box would be useful for receiving tax payments. Bacon said residents can drop off correspondence for any county office, such as a letter to the county commissioners.
“Whatever is in there,'” Bacon told the newspaper, “we’ll make sure it gets to whatever county office it needs to.”
Here’s a look at ballot-box practices in some other counties, per their clerks or election officials: