June 14, 2005
The minuscule voter turnout in Colorado Springs’ April 5 election produced one bit of good news: It saved the city about $225,000. El Paso County officials who conducted the vote slashed the costs of personnel and ballotprinting because of the lack of work, chief deputy county clerk Terry Sholdt said Monday.
The city’s final cost was $575,951.76. It had budgeted $800,000. “That’s elections for you,” Sholdt said. “Each one takes on its own life and kind of has its own personality.” The clerk’s office cut costs in three areas. First, the city ballot was much shorter than expected and was contained on an 11-inch card rather than 18-inch paper. After previous elections in which the city sought tax increases and put long lists of projects on the ballot, this vote had surprisingly concise questions, Sholdt said. Second, the clerk’s office noticed early on how slowly the absentee ballots were trickling in. So it ordered enough ballots for only 30 to 40 percent of active voters; only 14.9 percent voted. Finally, officials did not need to bring in judges 10 days before Election Day to count absentee ballots, as they usually do. Because turnout was so sparse, the county paid judges to start just two days beforehand, Sholdt said. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0184 or firstname.lastname@example.org