Delay tightens time line for county clerks |

Delay tightens time line for county clerks

A hearing next week on protests over Martin Beeson’s petitions further tightens the time line for election clerks to prepare for a Dec. 13 recall vote.

Ballots can’t be certified and printed until Beeson’s status as a candidate in the district attorney recall election is determined.

The hearing became necessary because Beeson and DA Colleen Truden protested the Secretary of State Office’s decisions on whether to validate certain signatures in his petitions.

Beeson also is seeking to “rehabilitate” 27 signatures on ballots where circulators hadn’t included their addresses. If he had challenged the state on those signatures alone, the state could have made a decision without a hearing.

As it stands, a decision following the hearing may not come until the end of next week.

“I think we can work through it,” Garfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf said of the tight schedule.

However, she had expressed concern even before the hearing was scheduled about how little time county clerks have to prepare for the election.

“Our time frame is really short,” she said.

The election is being held in Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties, which make up the 9th Judicial District. Gov. Bill Owens set the Dec. 13 election date. Secretary of State spokesperson Dana Williams said that as far as she knows there are no plans to postpone the election to give county clerks more time.

“I know they want to move forward with getting their ballots printed,” she said.

Alsdorf said the state sets the deadlines that county clerks must meet prior to an election.

“I’ve got to know where they’re coming from before I say I can’t meet this or can’t meet that,” she said.

She said there may be a need to allow for a special ballot for voters who are leaving the country and want to vote by absentee ballot.

By state law, the recall election will be held at polling places rather than by mail because it involves a partisan race. Alsdorf said she’d rather hold a mail election.

“They do it in other states but Colorado’s never gone for it,” she said. “I would love to see it but they don’t let you do it.”

Williams said she doesn’t know the rationale behind the law. She said county clerks probably would prefer a mail ballot election because it’s cheaper and can result in a higher turnout.

Alsdorf said her office will combine a lot of precincts for the election. She expects to have one polling place apiece in Carbondale, New Castle, Silt and Battlement Mesa, and two each in Glenwood Springs and Rifle.

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