by Pam Zubeck
If you want to put in your two cents on whether the June 26, 2012, primary election should be held by mail only, now is your chance.
El Paso County commissioners will decide the issue on Aug. 18. The decision is being made now rather than closer to the election so that commissioners can budget the election's cost. Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams told commissioners today that a mail election would cost $593,430, slightly less than a polling place election's $664,512.
It would be the first time that a primary election in El Paso County would be handled by mail only, but Williams also noted that those who vote by mail far outpace those who go to the polls. Here's proof, in bar-graph form:
The challenges of conducting a polling-place election include the hiring and training of more than 1,000 election judges and finding 102 polling locations.
Here's the upside to a mail ballot, according to Williams:
—All Mail Ballot election allows the county to mail ballots to only those voters who are registered and affiliated.
—Voters may still “surrender” their mail ballot (they need not have it with them) and vote in person at a Service Center, similar to voting at a polling place.
—The number of Service Centers required is substantially less than the number of polling places needed.
—Fewer election judges, supplies, and ballots are needed.
—We currently utilize Ballot on Demand printers which means that we only have to order as many ballots as we need to mail to voters. Polling places require that we have additional ballot stock on hand at each polling place.
The primary could prove important if there are contested races in a slew of House and Senate seats, or in the district attorney's race, or three county commission contests.
Commissioners voted today to open a 21-day comment period. To comment, write to Liz Olson, 200 South Cascade, Colorado Springs, CO 80903, or e-mail to LizOlson@elpasoco.com, or show up for the Aug. 18 commissioner meeting at 27 E. Vermijo Ave., at 9 a.m.