By Lynn Bartels
Special to The SUN
Running two elections is always a challenge for Colorado’s county clerks, but this year they’ll be operating a third one, the presidential primary.
Trying to find enough people to work for the presidential primary in March, the primary in June and the general in November — during a tight job market — was one of the issues discussed at the Colorado County Clerks Association’s three-day winter conference in Colorado Springs.
Clerks and their staffers turned out in record numbers for the conference, attending workshops dealing with their varied duties, including motor vehicle registrations and document recording, all requiring delivering customer service.
Archuleta County Clerk Kristy Archuleta said the training always helps.
“When we do these sessions, it helps to clear up any confusion we have,” she said. “Having open conversation about how other counties handle their daily processes helps us to streamline our own and make them better.”
She praised the Colorado Department of Revenue for its classes dealing with motor vehicle registrations.
“It made it beneficial to have the Sales Tax Division there to explain what we should require to accept paperwork,” she said. “We are not policing the dealerships. It is up to the state to do more training and make sure the dealerships are clear how to process their paperwork.”
The county also attended classes on recording documents.
“There have been some struggles between clerks and their assessor’s office due to redacting too much information and it makes it difficult for the assessor to be certain they are removing the correct name from ownership,” she said. “Statewide changes can help consistency and less rejections of documents.”
The conference ended Jan. 22 with a day-long election security exercise, Election Preparedness for Infrastructure and Cybersecurity or EPIC. It was hosted by Secretary of State Jena Griswold, and intended to prepare county clerks and other election officials with various worst-case scenarios that could potentially impact the election process. An increased cybersecurity is manadatory to keep election procedures full-proof. And this has resulted in a high demand for these courses. People looking to get into cyber security should consider taking a course in such to get a solid foundation of knowledge under their belt before applying for jobs .
Each clerks conference has a theme and this time it was “Back to the Future.” During the banquet, when clerks and their staffs finally have a chance to let loose, a number dressed in ‘80s garb. Scrunchies held up their hair. They donned leg warmers.
The ‘80s were a different time. Colorado’s population at the start of the decade was 2.9 million. Eligible voters participated on Election Day at polling places.
Colorado now has 5.7 million people. Neighborhood polling places are gone, replaced by a mail-ballot system and vote centers. Voters can start voting 22 days before an election, and they can also register to vote on Election Day.
One thing hasn’t changed. The path to democracy still leads right to your county clerk’s door.
By Lynn Bartels