Colorado county clerks say changing primary elections would save money

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Routt County elections supervisor backs bill

In Routt County in 2012, all Democratic primary races were uncontested, yet the county spent about $3,757 printing and mailing those ballots.

Of the 8,890 voters who were registered to receive primary ballots, 4,240 were Democrats, or about 47 percent. The county spent a total of $4,800 printing primary ballots and about $3,194 mailing them.

Routt County Elections Supervisor Kim Bonner said she is supportive of the proposed legislation.

“We hear a lot of feedback from people who say, ‘I don’t know why the county spends all this money sending out ballots when there are no contested races.’”

— The top election officials in two of Colorado’s largest counties testified Monday that taxpayers are spending thousands of dollars mailing ballots to voters in uncontested primaries, a practice that upsets Democrats and Republicans.

Debra Johnson, clerk and recorder for Denver County, and Wayne Williams, clerk and recorder for El Paso County, said primary voters regularly contact them to ask why they received ballots when there were no candidates to choose from.

“Voters get mad,” Johnson said.

Williams pointed out that municipalities and school boards automatically cancel elections if there is only one candidate for a particular office and that counties should get some leeway, too. Of the 360 races in the 2012 primary, only 28 were contested, he said.

Johnson and Williams testified in favor of House Bill 1067, which would allow county clerks to waive sending mail ballots in primary races where the candidates seeking their party’s nomination are running uncontested.

Read the full story at The Denver Post's website.

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