Grand County voters urged to do homework before voting
October 7, 2008
National Election 2008 is shaping up to be the biggest yet in terms of voter turnout, ballot length and candidates’ hunger for Colorado’s nine electoral votes.
Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman, who has been visiting Colorado’s counties leading up to what looks like an unprecedented election, says voters should conduct due diligence preparing for the vote.
The ballot with its four pages of questions (five if you live in Hot Sulphur Springs) is “one of the longer ballots in the history of the state,” Coffman said Tuesday in the office of Grand County Election Official Sara Rosene.
“This is a very complicated ballot; some of those ballot questions are tough, and you really need to sit down and study them with the political blue book people are receiving,” he said.
The book gives a description of each ballot question containing perspectives supporting both for and against.
“It’s kind of an open-book test at home,” Coffman continued. “I think it’s very important that (voters) have a sample ballot with them” when voting.
Sample ballots and the ballot book are now available at the Grand County Administration building.
“Don’t go in and try to figure out how you’re going to vote, it’s too hard and it takes too long. (Voters) really need to make a decision before they go in,” Coffman said.
The secretary is spreading the word to help speed up the process for a nation that may be licking chops for key-state results.
“I’ve never seen in Colorado, which has been my whole life, I’ve never seen voter intensity at the level that it is with this election,” Coffman said.
“The country clearly is at a crossroads. People feel strongly about one candidate or the other. We’re a battleground state, and I’ve never seen presidential and vice presidential campaigns so aggressive in Colorado.”
Grand County, he said, should have a smooth election with its greater use of paper ballots over electronic voting. Counties dependent on electronic voting tend to have longer wait times.
Mail-in ballots will account for an estimated 40 percent of Colorado voting this year, and election officials plan to feed the public results from mail-in and early voting prior to Election Day results.
Since the number of votes cast is expected to be the highest the state of Colorado has had, it’s guessed final results will be unavailable until Wednesday, Nov. 5.
But, “Colorado should know a sense of the direction we’re going before 8 p.m. on Election Night on a statewide basis,” Coffman said.
Extra language on ballots this year will advise voters to stay in the lines in response to sensitive scanner equipment ultimately certified by Coffman. The secretary had reservations about the scanning equipment earlier this year, but has since deemed the equipment ready for the election. If margin of error falls in line for a recount, ballots will be hand-counted, he said.
Addressing registration concern, publicized from Grand Lake’s municipal elections this year, Coffman said because state law is deemed sensitive to registrations, voting officials should err on the side of the voter. “You have to be real careful about that,” he told Rosene.
“Look at the state law and it’s pretty amorphous how you define that,” he said.
Voter registration integrity is protected by a statewide database that prevents duplicate voting or voting in two separate places within the state. According to Rosene, “It’s a real solid system.”
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