As if a trip to the Division of Motor Vehicles didn't already cause apprehension, wait times at county offices have recently gone up - and they're expected to stay that way through next week's recall election in Senate District 11.
"It's a perfect storm of factors," Ryan Parsell, spokesman for El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's office, said Tuesday.
Motorists should note that two of the four area motor vehicles offices - the Downtown branch at 200 S. Cascade Ave. and the Southeast branch on the corner of Powers Boulevard and Airport Road - will be used only as polling centers between Thursday and the Sept. 10 election. No motor vehicle or other types of transactions will be processed at either location for five days, Parsell said.
"For those days, only voters for Senate District 11 will be able to access those," he said. "If you need to do a vehicle registration or drivers license renewal, you'll need to go to one of the other sites."
Also contributing to wait times: A spike in vehicle sales, the Labor Day holiday and increased election training for employees.
"What we were looking at is just extremely long wait lines today," Parsell said, adding that some people stood in line for three hours Tuesday.
"Two hundred and fifty people stood in line for motor vehicle transactions," he said. "A lot of that stuff stems from what we're doing to prepare for the election to try to keep the lines short for the election."
Parsell said although polling centers will be open Thursday and Friday, he believes voters in Senate District 11, where Democratic Sen. John Morse is facing recall, may have the easiest time on Saturday. when election staffing levels will be high. He said Saturday voting also may be more convenient for voters who normally work during the week. The Saturday hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Citizens Service Center, 1675 West Garden of the Gods Road, and the North branch, 8830 N. Union Blvd., also will be open as polling places Thursday through Saturday but will continue motor vehicle transactions.
The North branch is normally open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will provide motor vehicle and other transactions during those five hours, Parsell said.
The county plans to open three additional polling centers for voting Monday and Tuesday, Parsell said. They are the Zalman Center at Harrison High School, 2755 Janitell Road; the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, 2880 International Circle; and, weather permitting, Manitou Springs City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave.
The polling centers will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday. On Tuesday, Election Day, the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Contact Daniel J. Chacon 476-1623