Despite evidence suggesting that mail-in ballot elections are subject to less fraud and error, the county commissioners this morning voted unanimously to hold a traditional election during the Aug. 10 primary.
“One of the beauties of a polling place election is that you can vote early, you can vote by mail or you can vote at the polling place,” said commissioner Wayne Williams, who is term-limited and will be running in the primary against several other contenders for the clerk’s job.
Commissioners Williams and Sallie Clark also pointed to statewide rejection by voters in 2002 of Amendment 28, which would have ended precinct voting and converted to mail-in ballots only.
Commissioner Clark said voters in El Paso County were overwhelmingly opposed to the amendment, with 37.41 percent voting to convert to mail ballot elections and 62.59 percent against. “To me, it’s about giving voters choices,” Clark said.
A longtime precinct judge named Reb Williams told commissioners he favored mail-in elections because there was less chance for error. ”When you have 2,000 election judges you have 2,000 potential errors,” he said.
After the ballots are mailed back to the clerk’s office, they are scanned in and undergo a signature verification process. If there’s a discrepancy that can’t be resolved, the ballot is held and a letter sent to the voter asking for explanation, said elections manager Liz Olson.
If the voter doesn’t respond, the matter is turned over to the district attorney’s office. One hundred and twenty-eight questionable ballots stemming from the 2009 election were turned over to the DA’s office, she added.