Early voting ends Friday at 5 p.m. | PostIndependent.com

Early voting ends Friday at 5 p.m.

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Early voting for the general election ends at 5 p.m. Friday. It’s also the last day for voters to request a take-home ballot, which must be done in person at the clerk’s offices in Glenwood Springs or Rifle.

Early voting polling places are open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday at:

• Glenwood Springs: Garfield County Courthouse, 109 Eighth St., Suite 200

• Rifle: Garfield County Human Services Building 195 W. 14th St.

Voters can also go to either location today or Friday to request a take-home ballot, also known as a mail-in ballot.

However, it’s now too late to count on a mail-in ballot arriving by mail back at the clerk’s office in Glenwood Springs by Election Day, Nov. 6.

From today through Election Day, all mail-in ballots should be dropped at any of these six locations, which are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays:

• Parachute Town Hall, 222 Grand Valley Way

• Rifle: Garfield County Human Services Building 195 W. 14th St.

• Silt Town Hall, 231 N. Seventh St.

• New Castle Town Hall, 450 W. Main St.

• Glenwood Springs: Garfield County Courthouse, 109 Eighth St., Suite 200

• Carbondale Town Hall, 511 Colorado Ave.

There’s also an extended hours drop-off in Glenwood Springs, open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today, Friday and Monday, at the east entrance to the Garfield County Courthouse, 109 Eighth St.

On Election Day, mail-in ballots can be dropped at any of the six community polling places from Battlement Mesa to Carbondale from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or at the county clerk’s offices in Glenwood Springs and Rifle, at the addresses listed above.

And on Election Day, the clerk’s office will staff a drive-up ballot drop station along Eighth Street in Glenwood Springs, between the courthouse and city hall, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A member of the clerk’s staff will be standing there collecting ballots from motorists and placing them in a ballot box, so voters don’t need to find a parking place.

Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico, who is managing the election for nearly 28,000 potential voters, has been working with her staff and the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office to find solutions for a variety of problems facing some voters.

Lost or spoiled mail-in ballots: Voters who have already requested and received a mail-in ballot, but who have misplaced the ballot or spoiled it with an incorrect vote or a spilled cup of coffee, can request a replacement ballot all the way through Election Day. Requests must be made in person at the clerk’s offices in Glenwood Springs or Rifle.

Alberico cautions these voters against simply showing up at a polling place next Tuesday. Those who do so will be given a provisional ballot, which won’t be counted until after the election. The clerk’s staff must first make sure the mail-in ballot has not been cast before approving the provisional ballot.

Overseas and military: Under standard rules, those in military service and their spouses, as well as citizens who are living overseas, must postmark their ballot by Election Day or early enough that it will arrive within eight days.

A new statewide service, called Everyone Counts, is speeding up the process, Alberico said.

Citizens overseas can download their ballot from the Secretary of State’s website, print it out, mark their votes, and then email back the scanned ballot or send it by fax. They must also send an image of their photo ID and signature. Once received, an official in the clerk’s office transfers the votes to a regular ballot that can be counted by the machine.

Hurricane Sandy: Local voters with mail ballots who are in the northeastern states hit by the extreme weather this week can use a similar procedure, Alberico said. These voters would include college students and people living in other states who retain their voter registration here.

Normally, they would have to mail their ballots soon enough to be received by Election Day. With the storm’s widespread disruption of services, voters can fax in their ballots. Alberico encouraged these voters to contact her office to work out the arrangements, at (970) 384-3700.

Use a pen, not a pencil: Alberico also asked voters to be sure to use only a blue or black ink pen to mark their ballots. Those ballots marked with a pencil must have their votes transferred to another ballot by an elections clerk, she said. About 90 ballots have come in marked with pencil.

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