Voter registration forms bury the county elections office
BRECKENRIDGE – The buzz created by the upcoming presidential election is prompting new voters to register by the thousands, a fact that has employees at the county elections office spending up to nine hours a day inputting registration forms.The county’s elections office employs two people – elections officer Vicki Stecklein and Joanie Meirick, elections assistant. “We are slammed,” Stecklein said. “Joanie spends absolutely all day doing input.”Meanwhile, Stecklein is inputting the forms – arriving in inch-thick stacks every day – in between answering telephone inquiries and completing other tasks such as editing TABOR “notices,” better known as the small books that arrive in voter’s mailboxes and explain elections issues.While about 35 registration forms were received daily in years past, Stecklein said the office is receiving more than 100 daily.”There is a lot of input,” Stecklein said. “We have to input absentee ballot request forms and not just new registrations but changes. Voters are walking in wanting their ballot now (they’re not yet printed), so we’re also dealing with voters personally all day long. The phone never stops ringing.”Mark Eddy, spokesman for the nonprofit FairVote Colorado, said increased voter registration is boosted in the state by the U.S. Senate race between Attorney General Ken Salazar and Pete Coors. “Several groups of both Democrats and Republicans are out there doing registration drives,” Eddy said. County clerks in Jefferson County and other Colorado Front Range communities are hiring extra staff to process voters registration forms, according to The Denver Post, but Stecklein said the Summit budget will not allow extra staff at her office. Stecklein was confident the forms will be completed on time. “If they keep coming in we will just do whatever it takes,” she said. Kim Marquis can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249, or at email@example.com.
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