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The County Clerk: Elections and MUCH More

Updated: Feb 22

We are currently in a Presidential Primary in Colorado so I thought it would be a good time to blog about my recent visit with La Plata County Clerk and Recorder, Tiffany Parker. I also took a tour of the elections center last week.


County Clerks are responsible for much more than meets the eye. The most visible duty is running elections where voters raise their hands to vote for something either an issue (i.e., vote for Ref A) or a candidate (i.e., vote for Marsha Porter-Norton, 2020).

Whether you mail your ballot back, visit a voter service center or use a drop box, your ballot is carefully tracked! There are numerous “checks and balances” as your ballot makes it first to your mail box and then back to the County Clerk to be counted. There are systems (and laws) in place every step of the way to avoid fraud and to arrive at an accurate count.


If a ballot has to be cured, there are rules for that too. Ballots are cured when a race is so close that “problem” ballots need counted. A “problem” ballot may need cured because, for example, it may lack a signature or the writing is illegible, or, perhaps there is a mismatch between the address and signature. Election Judges work alongside the County Clerk’s staff acting as monitors and to make judgement calls on issues that arise. Monitors are there from each political party too. Elections do cost money for printing, postage, staff time, and equipment. When an election is on the ballot for a special district or for a state race, funds are reimbursed to the Clerk's office but not to a high enough level.

More voter access at FLC!

The County Clerk also records legal documents such as a marriage or civil union licenses, and, she also registers vehicles, car titles and license plates. This office keeps track of liquor licenses, not issuing them but the recording of them. In fact, the Clerk is the official document holder for the County. As one example and a fun fact: Did you know you can find County Commissioner meeting minutes dating back to 1874?


The County Clerk works with the Board of County Commissioners to issue the Commissioner Districts and voting precinct maps (find the maps at the links). There are three BOCC Districts in La Plata County. As a side, I’m running from the one in red or “District 2”, which is Durango and immediate surrounding areas. However, everyone in the county votes in all BOCC races. These districts are defined by population.


Commissioner Map: http://www.co.laplata.co.us/UserFiles/Servers/Server_1323669/File/Government/Elected%20Officials/Clerk/Documents/Commissioner_map_2019.pdf


Precinct Map: http://www.co.laplata.co.us/UserFiles/Servers/Server_1323669/File/Government/Elected%20Officials/Clerk/Documents/Precinct_map_2019.pdf



County Clerks also track on what is going on in the State Legislature. Why? In any given session, there can be upwards of 75 or 80 bills that impact clerks' offices and/or elections. And, it’s very important that our rural areas' needs are given a voice in state policy making.


As an elected official, the County Clerk is not under the purview of the BOCC but Commissioners do set the annual budget which is now $1,464,300 for the main Clerk and Recorder's department expenses and then $464,945 for elections. The office has 16 employees and recently moved into the new ACT Building (Assessor, Clerk and Treasurer) in BoDo.


So back to the Colorado Presidential Primary...your ballot has to reach the Clerk's office by March 3rd, 2020. Nothing is more fundamental in a democracy than voting and with that we must have fair, transparent and accessible elections.

After this tour, I feel more than assured that the election I am running in this year will be handled fairly and squarely.


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Marsha for Commissioner

Proven Leadership!

You can help me work for healthier communities and a good quality of life for all by joining my campaign.


Engage, Donate and Volunteer here: www.marshaporternorton.com


Contact me here: marshaporternorton@gmail.com


970-403-5680


Facebook: Marsha for Commissioner@MPNfortheWIN


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Picture below: Taken while touring the La Plata County Elections Center in February at a nonpartisan event commemorating the League of Women Voters 100th Anniversary. This woman, 96, is a World War II Veteran and worked as a code breaker. She speaks four languages. It made my day -- actually my month -- to meet her! I love that she is still interested in our democratic processes.



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