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Price tag for recall elections continues to climb

By Emily Allen, Multimedia Journalist /Target 13 Investigator , emily.allen@krdo.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:36:28 AM CST
Updated On: Aug 19 2013 03:27:49 PM CDT
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Mail-in ballots were supposed to be sent out Monday to voters in Senate Districts 11, but a court's decision will send voters to polling stations instead.  The decision carries a hefty price tag.

A judge ruled third party candidate names can be added to the ballot until Aug. 26.  The decision eliminated the possibility of a mail-in recall election for state Sens.Angela Giron and John Morse.

"The costs that we have lost so far at this point have to do with the things we've printed in anticipation for a mail ballot election," said Ryan Parsell with the El Paso County Clerk's Office. The office is overseeing the recall election in Senate District 11.

El Paso County already bought inserts, postage, envelopes and secrecy sleeves for a mail-in election. Secrecy sleeves keep ballot information private while ballots are in the mail or sitting in a ballot drop box. The county will be able to re-use postage and envelopes in future elections. The rest will go to waste. Parsell estimates the county has spent $25,000 to $30,000 on mail-in material.

Pueblo County spent $20,000 on mail-in election materials.

"None of this money is in our budget. We did not anticipate this recall election to happen so we have no money in our budget," said Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz. His office oversees Senate District 3's recall election.

Ortiz hopes his office will be reimbursed by the Secretary of State's Office. However, he isn't unsure if that will come to fruition. Otherwise, he says county commissioners will have to evaluate other office's budgets and cut funding accordingly.

It will cost El Paso County almost $200,000 to run the election at polling places. A mail-in election would have saved almost $50,000. In Pueblo County, a mail-in election would have saved more than $100,000.

Ortiz said the recall election will cost at least $260,000. That number does not include the price to print ballots. He is still waiting on an estimate from the printer.  Ballots will have to be printed over Labor Day weekend which will likely drive up the cost of labor to account for holiday pay.

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