Ballots mailed for primary election; some voting changes implemented amid COVID-19 pandemic | SteamboatToday.com
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Ballots mailed for primary election; some voting changes implemented amid COVID-19 pandemic

Several changes are coming to Routt County's general election in November due to COVID-19. A polling center is moving to the Steamboat Christian Center on Election Day to reduce the number of people who come inside the Routt County Courthouse. There also is a new ballot drop-box in front of the Routt County Detention Center.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As of this week, Routt County residents should be getting their ballots in the mail for the June 30 primary election.

Officials sent out ballots Monday, according to Kim Bonner, the county’s clerk and recorder. 

The election includes candidates for the U.S. and state legislature, as well as candidates for the Routt County Board of Commissioners. For the first time in a long time, a Libertarian ballot is included along with the Republican and Democrat ballots. 

June 1 was the last date for voters to change their party affiliation. Because this is a primary election, those who are affiliated with a particular party will receive a ballot for that party only. Unaffiliated voters will receive both a Republican and Democratic ballot. They must choose one party and return only that party’s ballot. If unaffiliated voters send back both ballots, those ballots will not be counted. 

Unaffiliated voters who want to fill out a Libertarian ballot must request one through the County Clerk’s Office inside the Routt County Courthouse, Bonner said. 

The upcoming election comes with several notable changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To reduce the number of people in the courthouse, the clerk’s office encourages people to make any changes in voter information, such as their address, online. To do so, visit http://www.govotecolorado.gov.

Important election information
  • Voters registered as Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians or unaffiliated can participate. There are currently no other minor party contests for the state primary.
  • Unaffiliated voters without a preference will receive both major party ballots, Democrat and Republican, but may only return one. If both ballots are cast, neither will count.
  • Voters who are 18 years of age by the Nov. 3, 2020, general election can vote in the state primary.
  • Voters must change or withdraw their affiliation by June 1 if they wish to vote in a different party’s primary election.
  • Ballots will be mailed on June 8. By law, ballots may not be forwarded by the Postal Service.
  • Check your voter registration mailing address at http://www.GoVoteColorado.gov.
  • Sample ballots and additional election information may be found at co.routt.co.us/221/Elections. For more information, email clerk@co.routt.co.us.
  • Voters can update and verify voter registration, register to vote online, or find their voting services polling center at http://www.GoVoteColorado.gov.

On June 29 and 30, a polling center will be set up outside the courthouse, Bonner said. If people have not yet turned in their ballot by that time, they can cast their vote in person at the polling center.  

After polls close, a group of election judges will count the ballots, this time in a larger room of the courthouse to allow for social distancing, Bonner said. Her office received a large supply of personal protective equipment from the Colorado Secretary of State in an effort to keep judges and staff safe. 

“If this is still going on in November, things will look a lot different,” Bonner said, referring to the presidential election.

If COVID-19 restrictions remain in effect, the state might allow citizens to vote via email. That was the case for Coloradans who got stuck on the East Coast during Hurricane Sandy in the 2012 election, according to Bonner. 

“You have to get creative in emergencies,” she said.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.


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