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Election season enters final week in El Paso County

Nearly 62,000 ballots returned so far

Voters enter final week before...

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - Voters in El Paso County have one week to turn in their ballots before the polls close at 7 p.m. next Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Voters can either mail in their ballots, deposit them into any of 15 designated drop-off boxes or vote in person at any of 9 locations.

Officials with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office ask that voters returning their ballots by mail do so no later than Tuesday, Oct. 31, in order to allow plenty of time for them to be delivered and processed.

"They go to a processing station in Denver before being shipped here for processing," said Chuck Broerman, the county's clerk and recorder.  "It's been done that way for several years, ever since the Postal Service consolidated some of its operations."

As of Oct. 31, in El Paso County, 61,921 ballots have been returned.

"That's higher than normal for an off-year election," Broerman said.  "Usually, we expect to see 30 to 35 percent of ballots returned.  This year, we're on pace for 40 to 45 percent."

The county ballot contains a variety of noteworthy local issues, including a stormwater fee in Colorado Springs, several mill levy increase requests and a request to utilize the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, which returns excess tax revenue to taxpayers unless the public votes to allow local governments to keep the funds.

Laura Carno runs SpringsTaxpayers.com., one of two organizations opposing the proposed stormwater fee.

"We all agree that we need stormwater projects," she said.  "The question is how to pay for it.  The numbers I see tell me there's money in the budget to pay for it without asking the voters.  Three City Council members were against putting this issue on the ballot."

A total of 16 issues are on the ballot, along with races for mayor and City Council members in Manitou Springs and a number of school district races.


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