BLACK FOREST, Colo. - Black Forest fire victims are figuring out how to get their voting registration sorted out before it's too late.
The election for the Black Forest Fire Board is a little more than a month away. It's a story we broke Monday night (3/31/14) on KRDO NewsChannel 13 at 10:00.
The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder says some Black Forest residents may have inadvertently disqualified themselves from voting.
Next month's Black Forest Fire Board election is mail-in ballot only.
"Everybody needs to be aware that they're not just going to send it to any address. It has to be an address in the forest," said homeowner Anthony David.
David says he always votes we he can. He and less than 200 others cast a ballot in the last election, but this year David says his vote matters more after he lost his home in the Black Forest fire last summer.
"It's a big deal. This election especially because… a lot of people have lost a lot of confidence in the fire board or the fire department in the way it's being run right now," said David.
New election laws now say ballots can't be forwarded to new addresses like other mail.
"I absolutely have to figure it out because voting is very important to me, especially on the issue, the issues that are on hand," said Black Forest resident Michelle Andree.
Seven candidates are running for three positions on the fire board.
"They're dictating policy. I want to make sure that they understand what can happen in a wildfire and what they need to do to get in front of it."
There are two options to make sure you receive a mail-in ballot: click here or visit one of the Clerk and Recorder's Offices. Your residential address has to be in Black Forest. Your mailing address can be your temporary home.
"If everybody can get the message out that everybody needs to check that their vote can count, then we can be rest assured that the community has a voice."
See below for information provided by the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office in a press release on how to verify voter information:
"Displaced Black Forest residents living in a temporary home but who intend to move back to their Black Forest address -- and therefore could be eligible to vote in the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District election -- must have their Black Forest address listed as their residential address. In order to receive a mail ballot for the May 6 election, they must have their temporary address listed only as their mailing address.
Some displaced citizens have changed their voter registration to show both "Residence" and "Mailing" as their temporary address. They will not receive a ballot unless "Residence" shows their Black Forest home. Other displaced citizens have not updated their voter registration at all. Since there may be no mail delivery to a destroyed residence in Black Forest, they may not receive a ballot.
Voters should go to the website www.GoVoteColorado.com or come to one of the Clerk and Recorder offices to update their voter registration. This must be done by 11:59 p.m. on April 14 in order to receive a mail ballot for the election.
Black Forest voters who do not meet this deadline to update their registration may still be able to receive a ballot. From April 14 through May 5, Monday-Friday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., those voters can go to Black Forest Fire Station One (11445 Teachout Road) to fill out a "Request for Mail Ballot" form. The fire district's Designated Election Official will issue ballot packets to voters who are eligible to vote in the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District Board Election.
It is also important to note if you place an address change with the USPS, that information will be received by the Clerk and Recorder's Office and your voter registration will be updated using this information under the requirements of a new state law. To avoid that from occurring, please contact our office immediately and we will provide you with additional information on how to prevent this from happening in the future.
The Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District election is conducted by the Designated Election Official for the district. The Clerk and Recorder's Office is assisting in disseminating information to the public in conjunction with the Public Information Officer for the district to ensure all Black Forest displaced voters have an opportunity to vote in the May 6 election."