Officials Gearing up for Wild and Crazy Presidential Election- Rick Langenberg


Vote early, take advantage of the mail-in benefits with such a complex “War and Peace”-epic ballot; and more importantly, don’t worry about voter fraud.
Instead, concern yourself with one prime election mission: Get your ballot completed, mailed out, or turned in as soon as possible.
These are the main recommendations provided by local election officials. The hectic presidential and state/local ballot election process kicks off this week, and continues through Nov. 8.
Election officials in Teller County are predicting a huge turnout, with possibly 80 percent-plus of the active registered voters expected to participate in the Nov. 8 showdown. “This is a huge election,” said Stephanie Kees, chief deputy clerk of Teller County. “We have never seen anything quite like this before.”
Election interest is growing due to the presidential election fight, dubbed as probably the ugliest campaign in the history of American politics, along with a bevy of critical state and local issues. Altogether, voters in Teller County and the lower Ute Pass area will have nearly 50 individual tallies to make for elected positions and ballot propositions. Plus, in Teller County alone, approximately 25 ballot styles are required due to the variety of ballot propositions and races.
Already, nearly 16,200 ballots have been mailed out to qualified electors in Teller County.
Ballots were mailed out on Monday. According to a key information 2016 general election fact sheet, officials want voters to take advantage of the mail-in process. This is the first time it has been attempted state-wide for a presidential election.
Kees is optimistic of the county’s election prospects, noting that this is a prime time to take advantage of the mail-in process, or to use convenient drop-off areas.
“With such a complex and lengthy ballot, people want to take their time in studying the issues and completing their ballots from the comfort of their homes,” said the chief deputy clerk.
For those not happy with the mail-in process, there is the opportunity still to cast tallies the old-fashioned way at polling centers at the Woodland Park Library and on election day at several outlets. But election officials are encouraging votes to mail-in their ballots or drop them off at designated areas. No ballots should be mailed-in after Oct. 31.
Officials also are downplaying any concerns about potential voter fraud with a massive mail-in process, citing the fact that plenty of checks and balances currently exist. Mail-in ballots have become a growing trend in elections, but this is the first-time the entire state is resorting to this technique for a presidential election.
For voter service and polling centers, the Woodland Park Library at 218 E. Midland Avenue will be available from Oct. 24 through Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Oct 30 and Nov. 6. In fact, special times will be available on two Saturdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Polling centers are also available on election day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Woodland Park Library the Centennial Building in Cripple Creek and the Florissant Library.
And if you still want to participate in the election and have lived in Colorado for close to a month and aren’t on the list of registered electors, you can still vote. You must visit the clerk and recorder’s office or fill out a special form prior to the close of election day, Nov. 8. And if you haven’t received your ballot in the mail by Oct 26, visit the Woodland Park Library or the Clerk and Recorder’s Office in Cripple Creek.
For those who like to wait until the last-minute in filling out their ballots, drop-off locations are available at the clerk and recorder annex office in Woodland Park, located at 800 Research Drive. In addition, students from the Woodland Park and Cripple Creek school districts are getting into the act, with special drop-off areas set up at the schools from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 29.
Plenty of preliminary reading material is also available for those who want to study the complex local and state ballot issues a little more. Voters can browse through the 70-plus-page state ballot information booklet that lists the proposed laundry list of Colorado amendments that Coloradoans will decide on. A separate book has been compiled by the clerk and recorder’s office that describes the four main fiscal issues facing voters in Teller and the lower Ute Pass region. This book, though, doesn’t include several other county issues, such as the broadband initiative and a proposal to end term limits for elected officials.
For more information about election details, call 719-689-2951, visit the county government’s website, or e-mail