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Government & Politics

School Board races and statewide issues top local election ballots as La Plata County Clerk & Recorder assures voters about election security

2021 ballot information booklet
Stasia Lanier
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Colorado 2021 State Ballot Information Booklets are arriving in mailboxes this week, mail-in ballots should arrive next week.

Mail-in ballots for registered voters across Colorado should arrive in mailboxes next week. KSUT’s Sarah Flower reports on what to expect in this year's election.

Interview Transcription:

Sarah Flower  00:00
2021 is not a major election year, but in Southwest Colorado, contentious school board races across the region are filling this year's ballot, in addition to three statewide issues. Election Day is on Tuesday, November 2, with mail in ballots being sent out the week of October 11. This all comes at a time where voting rights and election fraud allegations are still spiraling throughout the nation over the 2020 election. And now with the recent allegation of election security breaches and Mesa County, Clerk and Recorders all across the state are under close watch. Tiffany Lee is the Clerk and Recorder for La Plata County. This election year, now more than ever, Lee says she'll be focusing on security and transparency with the voters in her county.

Tiffany Lee  00:51
It's very unfortunate, but we're all taking hits for it. And that's the piece that is so important to me, to get out to the public, to welcome them to come to my office. I give tours during the election. Our audits, again, are all open to the public, you can sit down with me and I can explain the whole process to you. And just to ensure you know, voters deserve that. And it's such an important right, and they deserve to have it treated with the utmost respect, integrity, and security.

Sarah Flower  01:21
As part of that extra added layer of security this year. Lee says she'll be double checking all votes.

Tiffany Lee  01:29
We do have the Dominion Voting System in Colorado. There are 64 counties, 62 of us have Dominion. I wholly believe in it. I know the system very well. We do all our ballot programming here in La Plata County. However, the voters are feeling a lot of mistrust because of all the bad information that's out there. So I went ahead and contracted with the other vendor, which is called Clear Ballot. So I'm going to actually run the ballots through two systems this election. So I can prove to the voters that not only is Dominion working well, but I want them to feel like, let's just really make sure.

Sarah Flower  02:01
The security of mail in ballots has left some voters across the nation skeptical of the system. According to Lee, La Plata County has to use some form of mail in ballots for almost 30 years. In fact, she says that 98% of all of her voters, vote by mail.

Tiffany Lee  02:21
In La Plata County, we started in 1992 doing mail ballots. People don't realize that but in elections like what's coming up this November, that would have been a mail ballot. Then in 2010, we started doing the primaries, also by mail. And then of course in 2013, when we completely revamped Colorado election law, we went to an all mail ballot state with the option to come in person if you choose to.

Sarah Flower  02:44
La Plata County voters' ballot will have school board races in Bayfield, Ignacio and Durango. Montezuma-Cortez school district has six open board seats while four candidates vye for two seats for the Dolores School District. The only county in the region not voting for school board elections is in Archuleta.

As far as the ballot goes for statewide issues, there is one constitutional amendment and two ballot initiatives. Amendment 78 focuses on legislative authority for spending state money. The last issue on the ballot is Proposition 120, which talks about the property tax assessment rate reduction and voter approved revenue change. For this year's election, ballots should be returned by mail no later than October 25. Or, voters may use 24-hour ballot drop boxes up until 7 PM on November 2.

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