Mail-in ballots for the Nov. 5 election were expected to begin arriving in Durango mailboxes Thursday, Oct. 17 – six days after they were sent, said La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Parker.
This year, the Clerk and Recorder’s Office mailed ballots Friday, Oct. 11, out of Phoenix, where they are printed, in an attempt to speed delivery to voters. But that didn’t appear to work for Durango voters, Parker said.
In previous elections, Parker said ballots have been printed in Phoenix, shipped to Durango and immediately taken to the Durango post office for mailing to Albuquerque for sorting.
All mail in Durango goes to the regional sorting facility at the Albuquerque post office before being returned to Durango.
However, any mail with a ZIP code beginning with 811, including Bayfield with an 81122 ZIP code, has a more serpentine journey – going through Denver before being returned to post offices in Southwest Colorado.
ZIP codes beginning with 813 go from the Durango post office to Albuquerque and back to Durango, she said.
By mailing the bulk of ballots this year from Phoenix, Parker said, delivery speed of ballots was increased to Bayfield residents, but if anything, it appears to have delayed ballots by a few days for Durango delivery.
Parker subscribes to the U.S. Postal Service’s Informed Delivery service, which notifies people via email notices of the items they will receive in the day’s mail. Parker, who has an 81301 ZIP code, said her Informed Delivery notice indicated she would receive her ballot in Thursday’s mail.
Parker said ballots for Bayfield residents began arriving Tuesday, a few days earlier than normal for Bayfield.
Parker said she is going to examine if her nonprofit mailing status will be accepted by the Albuquerque post office, which would allow her to ship ballots from the printer in Phoenix to Albuquerque for mailing to see if that speeds delivery of ballots.
If voters don’t receive their ballots by Oct. 28, Parker said voters should pick up a replacement ballot at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, 98 Everett St., Suite C.
Voters also must have their current addresses registered at the Clerk’s Office. Ballots with the wrong address will not be forwarded to the correct address. Anyone wishing to correct their address also should go to the Clerk’s Office.
As of Thursday morning, 103 mail-in ballots had been returned, mostly from active military service members. Parker said ballots for residents serving in the military go out 45 days before they are mailed to county voters.