Bring on the 2008 election! |

Bring on the 2008 election!

Dennis WebbGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox

New Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico is receiving high grades for the job she did running her first election. The bigger test, though, will come next year.”We’re certainly very happy with the way things went, in a test run for next year with a much larger ballot and a lot more voters,” said Ed Sands, a Rifle attorney who served as a Democratic Party observer during Alberico’s testing of ballot machines.Alberico took office this year, following the retirement of Mildred Alsdorf, for whom Alberico had worked. Alsdorf, who held the office for 28 years, had a history of occasional election-related glitches.Glenwood Springs city clerk Robin Unsworth said she thought Alberico and her staff did a good job of coordinating with the city to deal with voting on city candidates and issues.

“It did go really smoothly and I didn’t see any areas of concern,” Unsworth said.Sands said he also worked with Alberico as the attorney for the DeBeque Fire Protection District, which had issues on the ballot.”Best I can tell, she was very knowledgeable, very efficient, had a command of the election laws, ran things relatively smoothly,” Sands said.He praised Alberico for saving taxpayers money by getting different postage rates for mailing out ballots. Also, on election night, she used an extra ballot scanning machine to count ballots as they came in and help get results out sooner, Sands said.Results haven’t been available until late into the night in some past elections. Alberico said she remembers being frustrated herself as a candidate last year, when results weren’t released until after 11 p.m.

She remembers thinking then that there must be a way to speed up counting. This year, she was able to take advantage of the availability in her office of extra ballot scanning machines that usually are used at polling places. No voting occurred at polling places this year.Next year, those machines will be back in use at polling places. But Alberico said county commissioners this year approved the purchase of a big scanner that can be fed a large batch of ballots and automatically pulls through and counts each one, rather than having to be fed each ballot by hand.Alberico said the postage savings came from taking advantage of a nonprofit rate, rather than the first-class presort rate. The county will end up paying about $2,470 in postage to send out about 20,000 ballots, rather than $11,600 under the other rate.Alberico said the county clerk’s office had talked about changing its mailing method for years, and she decided to do it this summer after hearing a presentation from a U.S. Postal Service official during a clerks conference .Alberico said this year’s election wasn’t without its problems. About 140 ballots went out without return addresses, but Alberico notified the Postal Service to make sure they would be mailed to her office.On election night, the clerk office Web site mistakenly reported that Garfield School District 16 candidate Jody Dennis-Williams received 283 votes. Instead she got 383 – still not enough to win a seat on the school board.

Alberico said the error wasn’t in the ballot counting, but simply in the entry of data onto the Web site to report results.The office also had some difficulties in posting results to the site. Alberico said that was because an older computer was being used for that work. That computer is going to be replaced, she said.”Every election has its little trials,” Alberico said. “You’ve just got to keep moving.”She said her office will start soon on getting ready for next year’s election. It will include races for president, Congress, the state legislature, county commissioner and other offices. Turnout should be much higher than this year, when it was about 30 percent.Alberico appreciates the learning opportunity this year’s lower-key election provided.

“For me, it was a good practice run,” she said.Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119dwebb@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User