Voters will need ID to vote
BRECKENRIDGE – County clerks throughout the state plan to educate voters about changes in federal and state voting laws in an effort to avoid election problems that cropped up last year.
The biggest change is a new requirement under state and federal law requiring all voters to show identification at the polls.
Under current legislation, if a voter fails to bring identification, he or she can cast a provisional ballot. Because those ballots have to be hand-checked to ensure the voter is registered, the procedure delayed results in many elections last year, including Colorado’s new 7th Congressional District – the last congressional race in the nation to be decided.
State elections director Bill Compton said the state has standardized envelopes for provisional ballots to avoid the court battles and conflicts that also plagued last year’s elections.
About a dozen counties are holding mail-ballot-only elections this year, which are allowed in odd-numbered years when there are no partisan elections. Polls in those counties will be closed.
Voters in Summit County, who have partisan elections and will need to go to the polls, will be required to prove their identify, either with a government-issued identification, a utility bill or paycheck stub.
The changes still could delay decisions on major statewide issues on the Nov. 4 ballot this year. Of note is a measure that would allow bonding for major water projects, another that would allow video terminal gambling at race tracks and a third that would change limits on tax increases for residential property owners.
Depending on the number of provisional ballots cast, if there’s a tight race, there could be delays, Compton said.
Voters need to be educated to bring identification because it will be required by all voters in next year’s presidential election, when there will be no mail ballots.
Last year, 42 Summit County voters cast provisional ballots.
Compton said the November election will be a test run for next year, when voting is expected to be even heavier than last year because of the presidential race.
“”Provisional ballots are here to stay,” he said. “Our hope is that, as voters gain experience, it won’t be the challenge we had in 2002.”
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or
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