Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Voter centers open Monday in El Paso County

By Megan Schrader Updated: October 27, 2013 at 11:22 am

Voter service centers open across El Paso County on Monday, allowing residents to vote early, get replacement mail ballots, change their addresses or register to vote.

There are more ways to vote in the Nov. 5 election than ever before, but traditional neighborhood precincts won't be open under a new election law.

Instead, voters received a mail ballot that they can put one or two stamps on and mail back or drop off at any of the seven voter service centers that open. Four of those locations include 24-hour drop boxes for mail ballots.

If you accidentally spill a cup of coffee on your mail ballot, or otherwise destroy or mismark the ballot, you can go to any of the centers and either vote in person or get a new mail ballot to take home and mail in.

If you have recently moved or need to register to vote for the first time, any of the centers can handle that as well, right up until 7 p.m. on Election Day.

But there are a few qualifications.

Voters must have lived in Colorado for 22 days to vote on any of the statewide issues.

Here's where it get's really complicated.

To vote in a local school board race, a person must have lived in the district for 25 days.

To vote in any of the special district elections taking place - such as a water district - the requirement is 30 days for non-property owners.

Ryan Parsell, spokesman for the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office, said that has caused some confusion.

"Before when the voter registration time frame and the residency time frames were matching this wasn't an issue, but now that they don't match it's a problem," Parsell said.

House Bill 1303 eliminated a month-long black-out period before elections when new voters could no longer register to vote for that election. Now voters can register through Election Day.

"If somebody goes to a voter service and polling center, the election judge is going to be checking their eligibility based on the time they've been living in the district," Parsell said. "Somebody might get asked a question that they are not used to getting asked, like are you renting or do you own your residence?"

In addition to a slew of school board members across El Paso County who will be elected Nov. 5, voters will also consider two state-wide issues.

Amendment 66 would increase the state income tax from 4.63 percent to 5 percent and create a second threshold where income over $75,000 would be taxed at 5.9 percent.

Proposition AA would create an additional sales tax on recreational marijuana sales of up to 15 percent and an excise tax on wholesale marijuana of 15 percent.

Contact Megan Schrader

719-286-0644

Twitter: @CapitolSchrader

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