As special district elections approach on May 6, the office of the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder is working to ensure that every eligible voter has the opportunity to vote. In particular, the Clerk and Recorder’s Office is committed to enfranchising those citizens affected by last year’s Black Forest Fire, who may have inadvertently disqualified themselves from voting in the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District Board Election.
Black Forest citizens who are displaced from their homes must be correctly registered in order to vote in the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District Board Election on May 6. It is important to note that mail ballots cannot be forwarded so the voter must ensure their registration reflects the correct residential and mailing addresses.
“We are concerned about the citizens of Black Forest and respect their situation due to the loss of their homes,” said Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams. “Our office is working with the Black Forest District to be sure these residents have an opportunity to vote. In addition to reaching out to the media, we also have sent a letter to these residents to further communicate this important message.”
Those residents displaced by the Black Forest Fire may have inadvertently disqualified themselves from voting in the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District Board election by the way they updated their voter information. Voters have two address fields to complete when changing their registration; residential address and mailing address. The information provided in the residential address field determines for which jurisdictions an elector is eligible to vote. The information provided in the mailing address field determines where a mail ballot is sent.
Displaced Black Forest residents living in a temporary home but who intend to move back to their Black Forest address—and therefore could be eligible to vote in the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District election—must have their Black Forest address listed as their residential address. In order to receive a mail ballot for the May 6 election, they must have their temporary address listed only as their mailing address.
Some displaced citizens have changed their voter registration to show both “Residence” and “Mailing” as their temporary address. They will not receive a ballot unless “Residence” shows their Black Forest home. Other displaced citizens have not updated their voter registration at all. Since there may be no mail delivery to a destroyed residence in Black Forest, they may not receive a ballot.
Voters should go to the website www.GoVoteColorado.com or come to one of the Clerk and Recorder offices to update their voter registration. This must be done by 11:59 p.m. on April 14 in order to receive a mail ballot for the election.
Black Forest voters who do not meet this deadline to update their registration may still be able to receive a ballot. From April 14 through May 5, Monday-Friday, between 9 am and 4 pm, those voters can go to Black Forest Fire Station One (11445 Teachout Road) to fill out a “Request for Mail Ballot” form. The fire district’s Designated Election Official will issue ballot packets to voters who are eligible to vote in the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District Board Election.
It is also important to note if you place an address change with the USPS, that information will be received by the Clerk & Recorder’s Office and your voter registration will be updated using this information under the requirements of a new state law. To avoid that from occurring, please contact our office immediately and we will provide you with additional information on how to prevent this from happening in the future.
The Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District election is conducted by the Designated Election Official for the district. The Clerk and Recorder’s Office is assisting in disseminating information to the public in conjunction with the Public Information Officer for the district to ensure all Black Forest displaced voters have an opportunity to vote in the May 6 election.