Pitkin, Eagle county clerks urge voters to take advantage of early voting
NEED TO KNOW
The 2020 ballot includes everything from the presidential election to picking a mayor and Town Council for Snowmass Village. Here’s information to help voters in Pitkin and Eagle counties. For more 2020 Election coverage, go to aspentimes.com/election for previews as well as live Election Night coverage on Nov. 3.
• Pitkin County information and sample ballot are available at pitkinvotes.com.
• Eagle County information for Basalt and El Jebel voters can be found at eaglecounty.us.
• To check your voter registration information, go to govotecolorado.com
• The state of Colorado Blue Book, which breaks down each issue, is mailed to voters but also can be found at leg.colorado.gov/bluebook. It is available in Spanish and as an audio book.
Election day is Nov. 3
Online: Oct. 26
By mail: Received by Oct. 26
In person: Nov. 3
Note: If you miss online or mail registration deadlines, you will not receive a ballot by mail, but you can still vote in person at a voter service and polling center. You can also register and vote on Election Day.
Absentee ballot deadlines
Return by mail: Received by Nov. 3 by 7 p.m.
Return in person: Nov. 3 by 7 p.m.
Ballot drop boxes, which feature video surveillance, are located in front of the Pitkin County Administration Building (530 E. Main St.), as well as at Snowmass Village Town Hall (130 Kearns Road) and Basalt Town Hall (101 Midland Ave.). Even though Basalt Town Hall is located just over the county line in Eagle County, Pitkin County officials have cleared the drop box location with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. Eagle County also has a drop box at the Eagle County building (0020 Eagle County Dr.) by Crown Mountain Park. Anyone who didn’t get a ballot via mail can call their clerk’s office: Eagle County is 970-328-8715 and Pitkin County is 970-429-2732.
In-person voting begins Oct. 19 at the Aspen Jewish Community Center (435 W. Main St.), and will be available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until Nov. 2. Early voting also will occur two Saturdays, Oct. 24 and 31, at the same location from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Election Day voting
• Those who want to vote in person on Nov. 3 have three options: the Aspen Jewish Community Center, Snowmass Village Town Hall and the Basalt Library (14 Midland Ave.) All will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must have a facemask, identification and practice 6-foot social distancing to be able to vote. Voters can drop off ballots until 7 p.m. on Election Day at those locations.
• Pitkin County residents in the Crystal Valley and other areas downvalley will have two drop-off ballot locations to utilize on Election Day. Election judges will supervise ballot drop-off from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Redstone Church (0213 Redstone Blvd.) and at the Aspen Village Fire Station. The Fire Station (31350 Highway 82). also will accept ballots Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Any county ballot drop-off box can accept ballots from another county, according to Pitkin County Clerk and Record Janice Vos Caudill. Those will be forward to Vos Caudill’s office.
Voters in Pitkin and Eagle counties are being urged to return completed ballots by mail or drop boxes as soon as possible and avoid procrastinating and showing up in person at the polls on Election Day.
Despite the plea, Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Regina O’Brien said at a recent meeting with Basalt Town Council she expects a surge Nov. 3.
“Especially for this election, I anticipate that Election Day return of ballots is going to be more than we can process on election night,” O’Brien said. “I worked our county election judges once until 2 or 3 in the morning to continue processing ballots and I said I’d never do that again. It becomes too late in the evening. Our judges get tired and that’s when mistakes have a greater potential to happen.
“So our plan is to stop counting at midnight, post our results, what we have and then let our hardworking judges go and get some sleep and bring them back between 9 and 10 (Wednesday) and resume counting any additional ballots.”
Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder Janice Vos Caudill said at the same meeting she also is expecting a high turnout.
In Pitkin County, 2,123 voters had taken advantage of early voting through Thursday, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. That is about 14% of the 14,847 registered voters.
In Eagle County, 3,667 ballots have already been cast, or about 10% of registered voters. In Garfield County, there have been 4,105 ballots turned in or slightly more than 10% of registered voters.
Vos Caudill said early voting is preferable to in-person voting as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.
“We are encouraging everyone do your part, vote your mail ballot, return it in the mail if you prefer or drop it in a drop box,” she said.
Ballots were mailed to voters Oct. 9 and should have arrived in mailboxes by now. Anyone who is registered and did not receive a ballot yet via mail can call their clerk’s office.
Ballots returned by mail must be received by the proper clerk’s office on or before Election Day. Drop boxes are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. They are watched by surveillance cameras to discourage fraud.
There is a shared drop box for voters in Eagle and Pitkin counties outside of Basalt Town Hall. Eagle County also has a drop box at the Eagle County building by Crown Mountain Park.
Pitkin County has drop boxes at Snowmass Village Town Hall and outside the Pitkin County administrative building.
“They are safe, secure, convenient and they’re timely because the ballots come right back to our office,” Vos Caudill said.
The clerks said they expect activity to pick up as Election Day draws nearer. Voting centers in both counties open Monday providing another option.
In Pitkin County, the voter service and polling center for early voting will be at the Aspen Jewish Community Center (435 W. Main St.). It will be open 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m on Saturdays.
On Election Day, additional polling centers for Pitkin County will be at Snowmass Village Town Hall and Basalt Regional Library. Those two locations as well as the Aspen Jewish Center will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.
In the Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County, the voting center will be at the El Jebel Clerk and Recorder’s Office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays starting Oct. 19, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 31 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.
“Anything you can do Election Day, you can start doing (Monday),” O’Brien said. “The only thing I can imagine is going to change in the vote centers is as we get closer to Election Day, voters are going to have to wait in longer lines.”
To track progress on how many early ballots have been submitted, go the Eagle County Clerk’s Facebook page. The Pitkin County Clerk’s office sends out a bulletin with election news each Friday afternoon.
Voters can verify that their early ballot was counted by going to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website at sos.state.co.us.
On Election Day, O’Brien and Vos Caudill said they will release vote counts three times — 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and “at the end of the night.”
Colorado law allows votes to be counted prior to Nov. 3 but the results cannot be released until 7 p.m. on Election Day. As soon as 7 p.m. hits, Vos Caudill said, the election judges will download the results for the ballots already counted. There will be an update at 9 p.m. and then the counties will either have final tallies later in the night or they will give an update with a notice that final ballots will be counted the next day.
Early voting is not only being touted as safer, it also will help get results quicker.
“I would reinforce that voters go in and vote early as opposed to waiting until Election Day,” Vos Caudill said.
Eagle County Detention Facility can house Pitkin County inmates on a temporary basis, but a long-term arrangement is doubtful, Sheriff James van Beek said Friday.