Posted: Mar 6, 2011 5:16 PM by Matt Stafford
Colorado Springs is less than a month away from electing it's next Mayor -- and picking the first person to do it as a full-time job in a strong mayor system. Mail-in ballots go out this week, but there's a lot of talk about the thousands of voters that won't be mailed a ballot.
"When we approved, the City Council approved, the election plan for this April's election it included mailing to active voters," explains Bernie Herpin, district 4 representative for Colorado Springs' City Council. However if you didn't vote in the November election, you're on the inactive voter list and wont get a ballot in the mail. Numbers from the Clerk and Recorder's office say that's about 110-thousand people.
"Kind of the rule is that we don't normally mail to inactive voters because it cost about a dollar," says Herpin, and that's for printing, organizing and sending each mail in ballot.
In 2009 the Clerk and Recorder's office mailed out ballots to 27,477 inactive voters; of those ballots they only got 29 back.
"That's a fairly expensive way of running an election," says El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams.
So the plan for this April's election is to not send inactive voters ballots; but it has people wondering if that will hurt participation.
Our partners at the Gazette, along with the Independent, co-wrote an editorial saying not sending out the ballots could disenfranchise voters. They ask the City Council to make a change so thousands of inactive voters are sent the ballot for this April's election.
"It's not disenfranchising anyone; first of all everyone still has that opportunity to vote, the issue is whether tax payers pay to send them the ballot," Williams explains.
As for City Council making a change, ballots will be mailed out this week and Councilman Herpin doesn't think it will happen.
"I just don't think there's the time to meet the state requirement for getting the ballots into the mail," Herpin says.
So if you're an inactive voter, you need to change that by Monday (March 7th) to have a ballot mailed to you. You can reactivate your registration by going to the Clerk and Recorder's office, or simply go to govotecolorado.com; but the deadline is Monday for April's election. After Monday you can still vote in person; you can request a ballot at the City Clerk's office. Make sure to bring proof of registration.
To visit the Clerk and Recorder's website, click here.