March 8, 2011
Colorado Springs voters will receive their ballots in the mail later than the city has advertised.
All ballots will be dropped in the mail March 16, not starting Friday as indicated on City Clerk
Kathryn Young’s election calendar and in a news release from the city earlier this month.
“We want to try and head off any confusion by letting people know that the actual date that the city clerk has selected is the 16th,” city spokeswoman Sue Skiffington-Blumberg said Tuesday.
The delay may affect candidates more than voters.
Candidates tend to time their advertising and mailers to coincide with the time ballots hit the mail.
Kyle Fisk, campaign manager for mayoral candidate Brian Bahr, said the mailing date of the ballots has “strategic implications” for the campaigns.
“I think for any campaign that’s looking at radio, TV, print, mailings, the gamut of election activities, you build those, especially for an all-mail ballot, you build those around people getting those ballots, recognizing that’s when a lot of people are going to be making their decision of who they’re going to vote for,” he said.
“By changing the date of the ballots, it’s changed that kind of center of the bulls-eye of campaign activities,” he said.
At-large City Council candidate Douglas Bruce, who is running as part of a slate, agreed. He said the slate purchased radio advertising that was going to intensify next week to coincide with when voters received their ballots. The radio spots have been booked and paid for, “so we’re having to live with it,” he said.
“It’s not a no-consequence screw-up on her part,” Bruce said, referring to Young. “It actually affects the election.”
Councilman Tom Gallagher, who is running for mayor with a shoestring budget, said he planned to get all his campaign signs up this weekend to try to make a big impact.
“I get an extra week,” he said.
Young’s online election calendar indicated that ballots would be mailed between Friday and March 21.
“That’s the 10-day window” in which ballots can be mailed, said Young, adding that she told candidates during an orientation session in January that ballots would go out March 16.
“I haven’t faltered on the March 16 date,” she said.
A news release from the city last week stated that ballots “will be mailed out from March 11 to 21.”
Young acknowledged that the city “should have clarified” that the ballots would go out March 16.
“There might be a little confusion, and I’m sorry about that,” she said.
The March 16 mailing date for ballots is the second time that Young’s office has created confusion in the April election, which includes races for mayor, City Council and two charter changes.
Last month, Young said corporate contributions were prohibited even though candidates have been accepting them for years. Her comments caused confusion among the candidates and led to a complaint against Steve Bach and Richard Skorman, two mayoral hopefuls who had accepted corporate contributions.
City officials said Young, who had received legal advice from the City Attorney’s Office, was wrong and that corporate contributions are not prohibited.
Th City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution expressly stating that corporate contributions are allowed.
Read more about the candidates and issues in our 2011 voter guide.