Look for election ballots in your mail starting next week: Here’s what to expect | SteamboatToday.com
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Look for election ballots in your mail starting next week: Here’s what to expect

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 — Routt County will begin mailing out 2020 general election ballots on Friday, and eligible registered voters should expect to receive them early next week.

Voters can either mail back the ballots or drop them at one of several drop boxes around the county. If returning a ballot by mail, election officials suggest to mail it by Oct. 26 to ensure it arrives by Election Day, Nov. 3.

As some states scrambled to increase access to voting, Colorado has been mailing all registered voters a ballot for each election since 2013. The practice of sending all voters a ballot is a frequent grievance for President Donald Trump, who claimed that it would lead to voter fraud.  

“It’s just discouraging because we all are committed to our jobs,” Routt County Clerk & Recorder Kim Bonner said about the president’s statements about mail-in voting. “It is just a slap in the face for people to suggest that we are corrupt or throw ballots away or that we can’t be trusted.”

Colorado and four other states planned to send ballots to registered voters long before the outbreak of COVID-19. Four more states and the District of Columbia are sending ballots because of the pandemic in hopes to curb the likelihood of transmission of the virus at polling places. 

For more

Visit SteamboatPilot.com/election for the latest news and information on the 2020 Election including voting results, candidate profiles, polling locations and more.

Bonner said she was glad they have had the mail balloting system in place long before the pandemic. Other than some additional information urging voters to utilize their mailed ballot in light of the pandemic, there is virtually no change to how those ballots are handled this year compared to previous years. 

In the primary elections held earlier this year, almost all Colorado voters, 99.3%, cast their ballot either by mail or returned it to a drop box. In the 2016 election, just 4% of Routt County voters opted to cast their vote in person on Election Day.

“Despite misleading attacks, disinformation and attempts to make vote-by-mail a partisan issue, Colorado’s election proves that mail ballots are the key to accessible voting during this health crisis,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a July statement about the primary. 

Where to vote

Ballot drop-off locations

• 24-hour drop-off box, located in the alley behind the Routt County Courthouse
• Clark Store, 54175 Routt County Road 129 in Clark*
• Oak Creek Town Hall, 129 Nancy Crawford Blvd. in Oak Creek*
• Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave. in Hayden*
• Yampa Town Hall, 101 Main St. in Yampa*
*Ballots dropped at these locations must be done so during regular business hours. Hayden and Oak Creek Town Hall closes at noon on Fridays. All drop-off sites will be picked up at 5 p.m. on Election Day.

Polling places

The Voter Service and Polling Centers for the Nov. 3 election will be at the following locations:

Routt County Annex, 136 Sixth Street, Steamboat Springs
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 19 to Oct. 30
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 24 and Oct. 31

Steamboat Christian Center, 821 Dougherty Road, Steamboat Springs
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 2
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 3 (in person)

Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave., Hayden
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 3 (in person)

Oak Creek Town Hall, 129 Nancy Crawford Blvd., Oak Creek
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 3 (in person)

Voters can also track their ballot online with BallotTrax, which sends text or email updates about where their ballot is in the system. It will alert them every step of the way, even informing them if their signature on the ballot did not match their signature on file. Voters with a phone number or email on file are automatically enrolled to receive updates from BallotTrax. If voters want to ensure their ballot is counted and are unable to use BallotTrax, they can also call the County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

Some have raised concerns about delayed elections results due to a surge of mail ballots, but in Colorado, election officials can start counting 22 days ahead of Election Day. Bonner said she anticipates being able to report election results on Election Night, just like every other year. Still, she urged voters to return their ballots as early as possible.

Both Pete Woods, chairperson of the Routt County Republicans, and Catherine Carson, chairperson of the Routt County Democrats, expressed their appreciation last month for the extra work the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has done to conduct a fair and accurate election despite the pandemic.

In-person early voting begins on Oct. 19 at the Routt County Annex. On Nov. 2 and 3, in-person voting will be held at the Steamboat Christian Center, a change from previous years to allow more space for social distancing.  Other polling places are at the Hayden and Oak Creek town halls and will be open from 7 a.m. to 7p.m. on Nov. 3.


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