Freshly back from my election judge training, I’m reminded of the french saying “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” (the more things change, the more they stay the same) and my variation on it: “plus ça change, plus c’est change” (The more things change, the more they change). Well there are a few changes to how the primaries will be run this year in El Paso County, Colorado. Some you may like, some you may not.
There will be fewer of them and they will serve more precincts. Last year many more polling places served a single precinct and the average was probably four precincts per polling place. This year, there are only 15 polling places left that serve a single precinct. One unnamed polling place will serve 20 precincts. Of course, in 2009 the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder split a number of existing precincts up so we have more precincts.
Your precinct may well have moved. The Clerk’s office has sent out voter cards (actually sheets of paper) with your polling place address. Check it carefully! One trend has been to move them out of schools and into churches. Reasons given include the need for bigger spaces, not wanting to implement new security requirements by school districts who are more concerned and not interfering with first day of school conflicting with the Primary date.
When you go to your polling place, you need to sign the Signature Poll Book after providing ID and verifying your information in the book. In past elections you had to find the recieving table associated with your precinct to do this which, if there are multiple precincts and you are like most people, is challenging because, really, who remembers their precinct number (282 for me!)? This year they decided that you could probably remember your last name, so each polling place will have one receiving table with the names for all voters in all the precincts served are listed alphabetically. This is the second major win for the Alphabet in a political even this year (cf County Democratic Assembly) and could signal the start of a streak.
Drop-off your Mail-In Ballot
I know it says “mail” in Mail-In, but every year people show up at polling places, having forgotten to put their mail-in ballot in the, er, mail. In the past, we had to explain that they needed to drive into Colorado Springs and drop them off at the Centennial Hall offices of the Clerk & Recorder before 7pm to have them count. This did not make for a happy forgetful mail-in electorate. Well, they can now rejoice because even in their forgetfulness or procrastination, we will take care of them. You can drop of your mail-in ballot at any polling place in your county. I’m told this is true across all of Colorado. Hurray for common sense.
The polling place will have primary ballots for three parties: Democratic, Republican and Libertarian. It turns out that all three have contested elections.
Plus c’est la même chose
But mostly, if history is any lesson, things will be very similar this year, with a lower turnout in the Primary than the General; many people mailing in their mail-in ballots, and a raft of highly trained, nearly volunteer (we get $140 to work from 6am to 8pm or more), election judges helping to keep the wheels of Democracy turning smoothly.
If you come to the polling places, check your location, bring your ID and thank an Election Judge.
- Monument Town Hall (Precincts 76, 336)
- Monument Community Presbyterian Church (Precincts 136,260,265,349)
- TriLakes United Methodist Church (Precincts 181, 290,309,339,404)
- Trinity Lutheran Church (Precincts 74,192,247,282,300,333,355,372,401,402,403)