El Paso County will feel the pinch before the year is out from an elections bill that will kick in July 1. As a result of House Bill 1303, the upcoming November consolidated election in El Paso County will cost more, it will be tougher to find election judges and the likelihood of fraud will be higher, said Wayne Williams, El Paso County clerk and recorder. In the General Election in 2014, the impact will be more severe, Williams told the El Paso County commissioners on Tuesday. While the election in 2013 will cost an additional $134,212, in 2014 the county is looking at a whopping increase of almost $700,000. Most of the costs for this year’s election will be borne by school districts with upcoming board elections because counties bear the initial cost, then bill the jurisdictions. In the General Election, however, the county’s costs will soar.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Williams said after the meeting.
“My biggest concern is the potential for fraud under the new requirements,” he said.
HB 1303, also known as the “Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act,” was signed by Governor John Hickenlooper on May 10.
Among provisions, Williams told commissioners, it provides mail ballots for all elections, requires polling centers for early voting and on Election Day, requires separate ballot drop-off locations and drops the state residency deadline from 29 to 22 days.
The biggest costs for 2014, will come from providing and manning 23 voting locations, additional ballot dropoff locations and providing Internet connectivity at each site, Williams said.