Moffat County election officials release early voting numbers
Election officials with Craig and Moffat County say they’re ready to count the votes and make them official Tuesday on municipal election day.
Elections Coordinator Debbie Belleville said voting was going as planned Friday as almost 800 residents had turned in their ballots. By Monday afternoon, she said more than 1,000 had returned ballots as voters could be seen trickling into the courthouse and dropping their ballots in the box.
“I think it’s going smooth now that we have a process,” Belleville said.
The Craig Press reported in January that the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder’s office would likely not be able to conduct the election, a development that left city officials scrambling to contract election services.
According to Craig Mayor John Ponikvar, only three officials in the Clerk and Recorder’s office were trained to conduct municipal elections: former Clerk and Recorder Lila Herod, who left office in January, former Elections Coordinator Tori Pingley, and former Deputy Election Clerk Amanda Tomlinson, both of whom resigned around the same time.
Serena Woods, communications director for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, and Judd Choate, state election director, said Moffat County Clerk and Recorder Tammy Raschke is a certified election official, but conducting municipal elections required additional specialized training neither Raschke nor her staff had undergone. Choate said he has been working with Raschke to expedite the training and to identify certified personnel who may be contracted for the upcoming Craig election.
It seems elections officials have worked out all the bugs, saying Monday they expect to have the votes counted and recorded before 8 p.m. Tuesday night as long as residents don’t wait until the last minute to vote.
“Don’t wait,” said Shamra Grajeda, a county official helping the city with its municipal election. “We’re here all day (Tuesday) from seven o’clock in the morning to 7 o’clock at night.”
Council approved an emergency ordinance Feb. 7 for an intergovernmental agreement between the Craig and Moffat County to conduct the municipal election.
Craig City Attorney Sherman Romney said the city’s intergovernmental agreement with Moffat County stipulates the city will pay any overtime by county clerk employees, along with the costs of any ballots cast. The agreement includes the use of the county’s modern voting machines, Romney said.
The last municipal election, also held under an agreement with Moffat County, cost the city about $23,000, according to Romney.
Jim Patterson contributed to this report. Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.