Unaffiliated voters can cast ballots for the first time this year in the primary election, and to help educate voters about the new rule, the Secretary of State’s Office has launched a public-information campaign.
As a part of the UChooseCo campaign, Secretary of State Wayne Williams sent each county clerk a wooden “U” to decorate. La Plata County received its U a couple of months ago, said La Plata County Clerk and Recorder Tiffany Parker.
“We never could think about what to do with the U, and then the fire happened,” Parker said.
Erin Hutchins, La Plata County election administrator, had the idea to use the U to thank firefighters. Hutchins’ husband, Denver Hutchins, used a wood burner to emboss the character.
The wooden U reads “Thank U Firefighters” and features a firefighter logo, mountains, the number 416 (referring to the 416 Fire) and the date the fire broke out, June 1, 2018.
“It’s displayed on my ballot box inside the office right now, so when voters are bringing in their ballot or they vote in person, it’s sitting right there,” Parker said.
The 416 Fire had burned 34,184 acres as of Thursday. The fire forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes and has dealt a blow to the tourism industry.
UChooseCo seeks to educate unaffiliated voters that they can vote in the primary election. Ballots that have not already been returned by mail should be dropped off at one of four locations, including the Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 98 Everett St., Suite C, in Durango.
Unaffiliated voters received two ballots by mail, one for the Republican primary and one for the Democratic primary. They can cast only one ballot.
Election officials have already found some unaffiliated voters did not follow instructions. Parker has voided 43 voters’ ballots because they cast two ballots, she said.