Routt County Clerk Kim Bonner: Vote early to ensure final vote tallies on election night | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County Clerk Kim Bonner: Vote early to ensure final vote tallies on election night







— Routt County Clerk Kim Bonner is making contingency plans for the possibility of a late election night Nov. 8 and encouraging voters not to delay until the last minute to return their completed ballots.

"We got close to 50 percent of the ballots back on election day in 2014, which made it hard to keep up with the processing" of ballots, Bonner said.

If a sufficient number of ballots have not been counted by 10 p.m. on election night, she said she may consider suspending the vote count at midnight and resuming the process the next morning.

"Other clerks around the state are planning the same thing," Bonner said. "I can remember a couple times in the last 10 years when it went beyond midnight."

The lateness taxed the abilities of her staff and volunteer workers who verify ballot signatures.

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By 10 p.m. on election night, workers will have developed a good sense of how long it takes them to verify, scan and count each batch of 25 ballots.

"We've decided come 10 p.m., if we decide we can finish (counting the ballots) by midnight," we will, Bonner said. "If we don't think we can do it within that two-hour period, we'll resume the next day.”

The clerk's office sent out 16,435 ballots the week of Oct. 17 for the all-mail election, and they should be in the hands of voters by now. Bonner predicted that by the end of the day on Monday, 1,400 or 1,500 ballot (approaching 10 percent of the total) will have been returned.

However, there is some concern this week over the 30 or 40 voters who have already come to the clerk's office to obtain replacement ballots.

Bonner said some of those voters hadn't received a ballot in the mail and just decided to pick up a replacement, but others said their spouses had received their ballots and they had not.

Some of those replacements were necessary because the voters failed to heed the admonition that black pens only, and not black felt tip pens, be used to fill out ballots. Another cause for replacement ballots is that people have moved since the last election but did not report their change of address to her office, Bonner said.

Voters who return their ballots by mail can follow their progress to the courthouse by registering for the online Ballot Trail service at the county clerk's website.

And others do not have to return their ballots by mail. If it's more convenient for them, they can drop them off at ballot boxes at the town halls in Yampa, Oak Creek and Hayden, and at the Clark Post Office. They may also hand-deliver their completed mail ballots in Steamboat via a drive-up, secure, 24-hour drop box in the alley between the northside of the county courthouse and the main parking lot.

The Voter Service Center in Steamboat will have special hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 5.

Voter questions answered

Q. How do I get my ballot?

Every active-eligible voter now receives a mail ballot.

Q. When will my ballot be mailed?

Ballots for the general election were mailed the week of Oct. 17.

Q. What if I want to vote on a machine?

If you want to vote at the polls, you can surrender your mail ballot and vote in-person at a voter service and polling center.

Q. What if I do not receive my ballot in the mail?

If you have not received your ballot within a week of the ballots being mailed, contact the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 970-870-5558. They can verify that your voter registration record is current and active. If your record is current and active, they can mail you a replacement ballot.

Q. What if I need assistance with voting?

Voters with special needs have the right to have an election judge or any other person they choose assist them with voting.

Q. I will be out of town when the ballots are mailed. How will I get a ballot?

Contact the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 970-870-5558, or complete a Voter Registration Application to have the ballot mailed to your location.

Q. What if I make a mistake, damage, or lose my ballot?

You need to contact the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 970-870-5558, or stop by a designated VSPC (voter service and polling center) to request a replacement ballot.

Q. How long do I have to request a replacement ballot?

You can request a replacement ballot to be mailed to you up until the eighth day before the election. For the general election that day is Oct. 31. After this date, you will need to apply in person to obtain a replacement ballot. This can be done up to and including Election Day, Nov. 8.

NOTE: Your ballot has been cast as soon as you deposit it in the mail or at a drop site. After that, you cannot receive a replacement ballot.

Q. What if I have moved and have not updated my address on my voter registration?

You can submit a voter registration application to the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in person at 522 Lincoln Ave. in Steamboat Springs, or by mail to P.O. Box 773598, Steamboat Springs CO 80477. You can also go online to http://www.govotecolorad…> govotecolorado.com to update your information and have a ballot mailed to you up until Oct. 31. After this date, you will need to come in person to a designated VSPC (voter service and polling center) up to and including Election Day, Nov. 8 and have a ballot issued to you.

Q. Do I have to return my ballot by mail?

No, you have the option to return your ballot by mail, deliver to one of the drop off locations listed on our website, or drop it in the secure 24-hour drop box located in the alley behind the historic courthouse.

Q. How much postage is required if I return my ballot by mail?

You can return your ballot by mail for the price of adequate postage.

Q. Can I return more than one ballot in the same envelope?

No. You may only return one ballot per signature envelope.

Q. When do I need to return my voted ballot?

Your ballot must be received in the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office by 7 p.m. on election night, Nov. 8. Postmarks do not count.

Q. If I do not vote on all candidates or measures will my ballot be counted?

Your ballot will be counted for the measures and candidates you did cast a vote for.

Q. Will my vote be counted if I forgot to put my ballot in the secrecy sleeve?

Yes, your vote will still be counted.

Q. What happens if I forgot to sign my return envelope?

You will be contacted by the Clerk and Recorder’s Office in writing to obtain your signature before your ballot can be counted.

Q. How will I know you have received my ballot?

You can check your ballot status online at govotecolorado.com or contact the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 970-870-5558.

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