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Vote in the right place

Post Independent Writer

Garfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf is urging residents to be careful where they vote Nov. 2, to ensure their votes are counted on all ballots and issues. By Dennis WebbPost Independent StaffGarfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf is urging residents to be careful where they vote Nov. 2, to ensure their votes are counted on all ballots and issues.Her advice follows a Denver district court ruling earlier this week requiring that Coloradans vote in their own precincts.If they fail to do so, only their votes for president and vice president will be counted.”Please go to your polling place,” Alsdorf said. “Be sure where your polling place is.”Alsdorf noted that her office has mailed cards to all voters notifying them of their precinct and polling place.”If they don’t get one they really need to contact this office,” Alsdorf said.The phone number for Alsdorf’s office is 945-2377, extension 1760. The main county clerk office is at 109 8th St., Suite 200, in Glenwood Springs; the Rifle Clerk’s Annex is at 144 E. 3rd St. in Rifle.Alsdorf has mixed opinions about two other issues ruled on by Denver District Judge Morris Hoffman Monday, in a case brought by the Common Cause voting watchdog group against the Secretary of State’s office. She said she supports the judge’s decision to uphold a requirement that voters show identification at the polls.”I think that’s really good; we need to continue that,” she said.She said she thinks most people are comfortable with the state requiring IDs to vote, just as IDs are required in many other situations. Before Colorado instituted the requirement, new residents would ask Alsdorf why voters didn’t need to prove their identities, she said. “It used to be, in our town we knew about everybody, but not anymore,” Alsdorf said.Another part of Hoffman’s ruling promises to add yet one more headache for Alsdorf’s sign: see page A2office this election. The state had said it would prohibit voters who lost or didn’t receive their absentee ballots from being able to vote via a provisional ballot on Election Day. But Hoffman granted Common Cause’s request for an injunction against that prohibition, which the group said would disenfranchise voters.”This is the one the (county) clerks don’t like,” Alsdorf said.She had no problem with those who request absentee ballots having to abide by the understanding that they would have to vote using that ballot, and not on Election Day.”People need to take a little responsibility,” she said.But because of the ruling, Alsdorf’s office will have to check all the returned absentee ballots against its provisional ballots, to make sure no one voted twice.A similar complication for county clerks around the state involves ferreting out voters who are registered to vote more than once in Colorado. Some 55,000 names appear in the secretary of state’s list more than once, the Denver Post reported Monday.Alsdorf says she has no idea how many voters in Garfield County are double-registered. She said her office prevents the problem from occurring at a county level because it records names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth, and redundancies would be noticed. But if someone already registered in another county also signs up to vote in Garfield County, Alsdorf must rely on the secretary of state to detect it.All of this only adds to election-related work that will continue well past Nov. 2. Alsdorf said the deadline for overseas ballots to be returned has been extended until 10 days after Election Day. Provisional ballots must be checked for eligibility by that same deadline.Alsdorf has 15 days after Election Day to have representatives of the Democratic and Republican parties help her office in canvassing votes. That involves checking ballots precinct by precinct, reviewing election machine printouts, and double-checking how many people in each precinct voted for each candidate. Her office will then produce an abstract of those precinct breakdowns.One thing promises to make things go a little more smoothly for the county clerk’s office and voters this election. Early voting started Monday, and the first day about 200 people took the opportunity to avoid lines at the polls by voting early. Another 60 or so did the same in Rifle.Both offices continued to be busy with early voters Tuesday, Alsdorf said.”I think when the word gets out more and more will go in,” she said.Early voting is taking place at two locations, from Oct. 18-29. Ballots may be filled out from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Room 305 of the Garfield County Courthouse, 109 8th St., Glenwood Springs, and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, 1001 Railroad Ave., Rifle.The clerk’s office also has been issuing absentee ballots upon request. The deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed is Oct. 26. Voters may request an absentee ballot in person through Oct. 29. Requests may be faxed to 947-1078, or mailed to the Garfield Clerk’s Office, 109 8th St., Suite 200, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601.Requests must include name, the address where voters are registered, the mailing address if different from registered address, date of birth, and signature.Absentee ballots may be dropped off at the county clerk’s office; at the drop box on the south side of the county courthouse in Glenwood Springs; or at the Rifle Clerk’s Annex, 144 E. 3rd St. in Rifle.Alternatively, absentee ballots should be mailed to the clerk’s office, but voters should be aware that 60 cents postage is required to send ballots in by mail.Also, all absentee ballots must be returned no later than Election Day.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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