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While it may feel to many as if we haven’t recovered from the last, national election, it is time to begin planning for the 2021 Coordinated Election. Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder Lori Mitchell has just issued the organization plan for this year’s elections. The 2021 Coordinated Election will be held on Tuesday, November 2, 2021.

Entities that most commonly participate in odd-year elections include:

  • City of Salida- the mayor and council races
  • Salida School District directors contests
  • Buena Vista School District directors contests
  • The county
  • The state

Dan Smith Photo

As the county prepares for the off-year election, it might be good for county voters to remember that in this country, every county runs its own election. There are 64 counties in Colorado: meaning 64 election processes are being prepared.

The process is transparent, as the election timeline below reveals. But a certain element of the population keeps insisting that somehow the election results are tainted.

“The most frustrating thing, in a way about the questions that have been raised this past year is how demoralizing it is to the staff and election judges who work really hard,” said Mitchell. “We had three really successful elections in 2020. They were fair. They were accurate. They were safe and secure, and they were transparent.  To still be fielding these accusations and this disinformation and outright lies five months after the election just feels wrong.”

She reiterates one of the most obvious protections to the election process; a fact that shields the county and every election season from a mass attempt to rig an election: “Each county runs its own election. We follow all the state rules. We put out a document that explains every step. Our integrity is everything and we take our jobs seriously.”

On the Record: Important Dates for the 2021 Election Process:

Fri., July 23: If a political subdivision has taken formal action to participate in the Coordinated Election, it must notify the county clerk in writing by this date.

Wed., Aug. 4: The first day a candidate for the office of school district director may circulate a nomination petition.

Tues., Aug. 24:  Deadline for the county clerk and coordinating political subdivisions to sign intergovernmental agreements for the 2021 Coordinated Election.

Fri., Aug. 27:  Last day for candidates for the office of school district director to file a nomination petition.

Fri., Sept. 3: Last day for major political parties to provide an adequate list of election judges to the county clerk.  If an adequate list is not provided, the county clerk must report this to the Secretary of State.

Fri., Sept. 3:  Last day for the designated election official from each political subdivision that intends to conduct an election to certify the ballot content.  The certification must be delivered to the county clerk and recorder of each county that has territory within the political subdivision.

Fri., Sept. 17:  Last day to file pro/con comments pertaining to local ballot issues with the designated election official in order to be included in the ballot issue notice.  (By noon the Friday before the 45th day before the election.)

Sat., Sept. 18:  The clerk and recorder sends ballots out to all military and overseas electors.

Mon., Sept. 20: Last day for the designated election official to deliver ballot issue notices to the county clerk.

Tues., Sept. 28: Last day for the county clerks to provide a list of election judges, including political party affiliations, if known, to each appointing party.

Fri., Oct. 1:  Last day for the county clerk to mail notice of election for ballot issues. (TABOR/Blue Books)

Mon. Oct. 11: First day the county clerk can mail ballots to voters.

Mon. Oct. 25: Minimum number of Vote Centers open.

Tues. Nov. 2:  Coordinated Election Day – (Polls open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.)

Wed. Nov. 10:  Last day for an elector to cure signature discrepancy or missing signature, or to provide missing ID.

Fri. Nov.12: County must finish tabulating all in-person and accepted mail ballots cast by voters registered in the county.  Immediately after completing this tabulating, the county must also generate a summary results report, a results file export suitable for uploading for the Secretary of State’s Election Night Reporting System.

Fri. Nov. 12:  Deadline for Secretary of State to notify the counties of the ballots selected to be audited.

Tues. Nov. 23:  Deadline for County audit board to sign, date, and submit to the Secretary of State a report of the results of the risk-limiting audit.  (The audit board is made up of designees from the political parties and representatives of the coordinating entities.)

Wed. Nov. 24: Last day to complete the canvass and submit official abstract of votes cast for the Coordinated Election to the Secretary of State.  (The canvassing board is made up of designees from the political parties and representatives of the coordinating entities.)

See Elections Part II: Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell Answers Accusations of Election Fraud; discusses the actual election processes and how that process eliminate the possibility of fraud.