Updated: May 10, 2011 at 12:00 am
Colorado Springs City Clerk Kathryn Young is bringing in reinforcements to try to ensure that all ballots in the May 17 mayoral runoff are counted on Election Day.
Young, who came under fire last month after she sent workers home for the night without finishing the count, said Monday that she has hired about a dozen additional workers to help with the time-intensive job of processing ballots and verifying voter signatures.
“They’ve been in training for over a week,” she said.
Still, Young didn’t rule out the possibility that the count wouldn’t be completed on Election Day.
“I’m not going to work these people 24 hours in a day. I won’t do that,” she said. “These are human beings, not horses, and I’m not going to work them like that.”
Young said voters can help by returning their ballots as soon possible, she said.
“Don’t wait until the last day and flood us,” she said. “Get them in early.”
In the April 5 election, 27,000 ballots were returned on Election Day, which Young said was unusual for a municipal election.
“Every election I’ve had, the ballots were counted that night, but we’ve not had the bombardment that we experienced on April 5,” she said.
Young also encouraged voters to make sure they sign their ballots before returning them. Otherwise, her office has to contact those voters, which is time consuming and takes election workers away from other tasks, she said.
Young said her office has received about 400 ballots so far without the voter’s signature.
Young cautioned voters who didn’t vote in the April 5 election but are voting in the hard-fought and highly publicized mayoral race between Steve Bach and Richard Skorman to use the return envelope for the May 17 election. Otherwise, the ballot won’t get counted, she said.
“It’s a wrong election, and I can’t use it,” she said.
Turnout in the city’s all-mail election has climbed to nearly 40 percent.
Of the 154,778 ballots that were mailed out to voters, 59,757 have been returned and scanned.
In the April 5 election, when eight candidates were in the mayor’s race, 88,960 ballots were cast.
WHERE TO DROP BALLOTS
Ballots in the city’s all-mail runoff election must be returned, not just postmarked, by 7 p.m. May 17, which is Election Day.
Ballots can be returned by mail or dropped off at one of the following locations 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through May 16 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 17:
City Clerk’s Office, 30 S. Nevada Ave., Suite 101
Colorado Springs Senior Center, 1514 N . Hancock Ave.
Fire Station #8, 3737 Airport Rd.
Fire Station #17, 3750 Tutt Blvd.
Fire Station #19, 2490 Research Parkway
Fire Station #20, 6755 Rangewood Dr.
Gold Hill Police Substation, 955 W. Moreno Ave.