No bombast, rhetoric or screed either folks. Sorry to disappoint but we’ve got some work-a-day technical stuff we need to take care of instead. Voting — let’s do it.
The last day to register to vote is Oct. 9. That’s next Tuesday if you are reading this paper hot off the press. You may register online at www.pitkinvotes.org , in person at the County Clerk’s office in the Courthouse Annex or at the Saturday farmer’s market tomorrow (Saturday, duh) with the volunteers doing voter registration.
You do not need to show ID to register nor do you need a Colorado driver’s license but if you do have one you need that number to register. You do not have to register with a political party. Registration won’t put you on any email list that will clog your inbox with requests for money. Fill out the form completely, follow instructions and then sign it. It’s more complicated than necessary but you’ve got your Secretary of State Scott Gessler to thank for that.
Look, even if you are sick unto death of politics and the ads and the bickering and wouldn’t vote “for one of those bums” or even to save your own soul — you should get registered to vote anyway. You might change your mind and, if registered, you have options. If not, not. You will receive a postcard in the mail confirming your registration and precinct.
Already registered? You may check the status of your registration or update your address through the fantastic website the folks at the clerk’s office maintain — www.pitkinvotes.org . It will answer all your local voting questions. Or you may phone the county elections “desk” at 970 429-2713 or email them at email@example.com .
Once registered you may cast a ballot in three ways: Request a mail-in ballot. Oct. 30 is the deadline to have a ballot mailed to you. Nov. 2 is the deadline to pick up a mail-in ballot from the Clerk’s office. Oct. 15 is the first day mail-in ballots can be sent out so check your mail soon after.
Now listen up, kids! Mail-in ballots must be in the hands of the Clerk’s office by 7 p.m. on Election Day. It takes two first-class stamps for postage and this is your responsibility to provide. No free postage rides for voters! If you wait too long to mail back the voted ballot you may hand deliver it to the clerk. This is not a “Brady Bunch” episode so close doesn’t count and postmarks don’t either! Deadline is 7 p.m. Election Day. Period. You may verify receipt of your ballot via the website.
All eligible voters may “early vote” in person at the Courthouse Annex on Main Street (across from St. Peter’s) from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Or you may wait until Election Day and vote in person at your precinct polling place. You will have ample elbow room as you will not find the “party at the polls” you might remember from before mail-in and early voting. Swing on by and keep the election officials awake.
Personally, I’m old-fashioned and like to vote on Election Day and think we should make it a national holiday. But I still wear bow ties and penny loafers, so what do I know?
In Pitkin County there are 10 precincts in eight separate locations. Aspen precincts have four locations: Precincts 1 and 3 vote at the Rio Grande Meeting Room off Main Street by the library. Precincts 2 and 4 vote at the Red Brick Center on Hallam Street. Precinct 5 votes at the Schultz Building by the hospital and Precinct 7 at the Colorado Mountain College at the North 40. All of Snowmass Village (Precinct 6) votes at the Snowmass Town Hall. Precinct 8 votes at the Old Snowmass Fire Station. Precinct 9 votes at St. Peter’s on Elk Run in Basalt and Precinct 10 at the Church at Redstone.
Pay attention as some precinct boundaries and polling places have changed. You can verify your precinct by using the online voter registration system at www.pitkinvotes.org .
When voting in person you must, in Colorado, present a valid photo ID. This is not a new attempt to suppress the vote like many efforts you may have heard about in other states. You may find a list of all valid IDs at www.pitkinvotes.org . An unexpired Colorado driver’s license is valid for voting purposes and does not have to list your current address as the law recognizes people move. Poll judges will be checking the ID name against the poll book and verifying the ID is not expired. If there is an address on the ID it must be a Colorado address. Voters must sign a signature card at the polls to verify they live in the precinct.
The clerk’s website also lists a “sample ballot.” This will allow you to do research on whom and for what to vote. You should also receive a “blue book” from the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly in the mail. It lists the all constitutional amendments and statewide issues. This is that thickish pamphlet that looks like it was delivered from 1965. It looks important and you, wanting to be a well-informed voter, should bone up on the issues and give it attention. If you misplaced it, it’s available online at www.colorado.gov/lcs.
Bottom line: Don’t be intimidated from registering or voting. This is your right and the clerk’s office and the election officials at the polls are there to protect your right. They are not going to place roadblocks preventing you from voting. They are on your side.
This column is dedicated to a lively discussion/forum regarding issues of public policy in Aspen and Pitkin County. If you have any questions about a particular matter of policy that you’d like see discussed or suggestions about topics/ issues, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I’ll respond to all responsible and serious queries and emails.