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El Paso County Clerk and Recorder points to flaws in voter law

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams says that, because of Colorado's new voting laws, the Nov. 5 election had higher costs than it would have otherwise.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1303 into law in May. Under the bill, counties are required to send mail ballots to every registered voter.  This election, according to Williams, shows flaws with the system and cost taxpayers more money.

Even those who had not voted in decades were mailed a ballot for this election.  As a result, over 40,000 ballots were returned to the clerk and recorder's office.  At $1.77 per ballot for printing and mailing costs, those extra ballots cost taxpayers roughly $75,000.

Another problem, according to Williams, is the number of polling places required by the law.  For this election, the county was required to have four polling places open for eight days.  Williams said they opened seven to reach outlying areas of the county, but since everyone received a mailed ballot, those polling places were largely empty.  In the general election, Colorado law will require El Paso County to open 23 polling places for eight days.  

"Given the turnout we've seen so far and the proportion of people who decide to vote by mail, that seems like an excessively large number," Williams said.  The cost of these polling places is paid for with taxpayer money.

Williams said he hopes legislators will look at this election and make changes to Colorado's voting law.

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