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Clerks from El Paso, Pueblo counties report good voter turnout

Clerks from El Paso, Pueblo Counties report good voter turno

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Clerks from El Paso and Pueblo counties reported good voter turnout going into the final day for voters to cast ballots.

The election on Nov. 5 marks the first statewide mail-in ballot election. El Paso and Pueblo counties were already ahead of the game - instituting their first mail-in elections in 2011.

There was a steady stream of voters dropping off ballots at drop boxes around El Paso County. The boxes are an easy and quick option for voters.  Political scientists will keep a close eye on the impact the mail-in system could have on voter turnout statewide.

"Some people are saying it will significantly increase it, some people think it will be a marginal increase. I tend towards thinking it will be a smaller marginal increase," said political science professor Josh Dunn with University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

Dunn said despite how easy it's made, not everyone will vote.

"Even though they (mail-in ballots) have made it easier, they just aren't that interested in it and so they aren't going to take the time," said Dunn.

Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz said voter turnout has jumped from 23 percent to more than 40 percent since he took office. He expected voter turnout to be higher this election than in 2011's mail-in election. After a slow start, numbers have picked up.

"As people get used to this they are going to find it convenient and they are going to like it and they are going to trust it and we are going to see a lot more people voting in elections," said Ortiz.

El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams expected voter turnout to be higher in his county during this election than in 2011. He said the thing that drives voters is not how they vote, but what they vote on.

"The more you have on the ballot that affects you personally, the more likely you are to vote," said Williams.

Voters will weigh on Proposition AA, and their votes will decide if marijuana should be taxed for the sake of schools and enforcement. Another issue on the ballot is Amendment 66. It's an income tax question dealing with public school funding.

"You look at the people in El Paso County," said Dunn. "They take certain issues very seriously and one of those issues happens to be tax increases and so I think they are going to be really motivated to vote."

Both El Paso and Pueblo counties expect big turnout during this final day to vote.

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