How to make sure your vote is counted in the Colorado Springs Municipal Election
Colorado Springs municipal election: Voter guide | How to make sure your vote is counted | How campaign finances are playing out in the election | Extending the TOPS Tax | Mayor's race | At-large council race | District 3 council race
Colorado Springs voters will soon cast ballots for a new mayor and several city council members, among other things. This election will be different from the recent November contests, though, as ballots will only be accepted by mail or in a 24/7 ballot drop-off box.
Click here to find a ballot drop-off box near you.
Colorado Springs City Clerk Sarah Johnson said it's key for voters to do their research and educate themselves about candidates.
"We have 25 great candidates across all the races who are eager to serve and we have a ballot question on the ballot, so hopefully people will vote," Johnson said. "That's the most important thing is to use your voice. You have an opinion, so express it through voting."
Turnout for April elections has historically been low in Colorado Springs. Data from the city's website going back to 1995 shows less than half of registered voters — sometimes far less — have participated in city elections. The one exception was in 2011, the year after voters approved the strong mayor system.
- March 10 – ballots are mailed to registered, active voters
- March 28 – final day to mail your ballot
- April 4 – Election Day (ballots must be returned by 7 p.m.)
- May 16 – potential mayoral run-off election
- Beginning March 10, residents with disabilities may cast their votes with the assistance of special equipment at the City Clerk’s office, 30 S. Nevada Ave., Suite 101, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Here are answers to some of the questions you may have about the April 4 election
What are we voting on?
Each voter will choose one mayoral candidate and up to three city council candidates for the at-large seats. Only those who live in District 3 will vote on those candidates.
- Colorado Springs Mayor
- 3 at-large seats on the Colorado Springs City Council for a four-year term
- Colorado Springs City Council District 3 to serve the remaining two years of the term
- A measure extending a sales tax that supports the city's Trails, Open Spaces and Parks for another 20 years
Why is the city holding a mail ballot election in April?
According to Colorado Springs City Clerk Sarah Johnson, city elections have been mail ballot only since 2005. Johnson said she doesn't know the exact reasoning behind the timing, as it was before her tenure as clerk began.
"I'm assuming it was for the ease of the voter, but again, I wasn't here," Johnson said.
Several voter advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against the city of Colorado Springs, alleging racial discrimination in local elections. The suit says "the timing of Colorado Springs' elections for city council and Mayor massively disadvantages Hispanic and Black residents."
Read more about the lawsuit here
*Disclaimer: The League of Women Voters is one of the groups suing the city. KRCC is co-sponsoring voter forums hosted by the group, and moderating one of them.
How do I get a ballot?
Every eligible, active voter living within Colorado Springs city limits will receive a ballot indicating the issues and candidates for their specific city council district. All ballots will be mailed to the address listed on voter registration records.
Ballots will be sent out starting Friday, March 10. If you do not receive a ballot by Friday, March 17, and believe you are an eligible voter within the city limits, contact the city clerk's office at (719) 385-5901.
To register to vote or check your registration status, visit the Colorado Secretary of State's website.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, March 28.
How do I vote?
There will be no voting at precinct polling places on or before election day.
For your vote to be counted, the complete, signed ballots must be mailed in the provided official return envelope. The city clerk's office recommends allowing at least seven days for the ballot to reach their office (mailed by Tuesday, March 28 to make it by 7 p.m. on election day April 4).
First-class postage is required. A forever stamp is sufficient postage.
Ballots can also be returned in one of the city's more than two dozen 24/7 ballot drop-off boxes.
Click here to find a ballot drop-off box near you.
"It's very similar to the state [election process]," Johnson said. "You get it in the mailbox, you pick it up, you open it, do your research, vote it, and put it in one of the 26 boxes across the city."
What happens if I need a replacement ballot?
If you think the post office was unable to deliver your ballot to your mailbox, check with the city clerk's office by, calling (719) 385-5901, option 4. The office will verify if your ballot was returned as undeliverable. There's also a document on the city clerk's website to request a replacement ballot for those that have been lost or otherwise ruined.
Replacement ballots are also available if a voter makes a mistake on their ballot and has not yet sent it in.
When will results be available?
According to the city clerk's office, unofficial results of the City Election will be posted here with initial unofficial results should be available by 7:30 pm. Additional updates to the unofficial results will be posted throughout the evening until all ballots have been counted.
KRCC will also make results available on our website.
What's the plan if the mayoral race goes to a runoff election?
To win the mayor's race, a candidate must get a majority of the total votes (one vote more than 50 percent of ballots cast). Because of the high number of candidates running, there's a chance that may not happen. If it doesn't, the city clerk's office said the two candidates with the most votes will advance to a run-off election.
The runoff would be held on May 16 through another mail-in balloting process, per city charter.
The clerk's office cautions against voting only in the case of a runoff election, as that eliminates the chance to cast votes for city council and the ballot issue.
Southern Colorado is changing a lot these days. We can help you keep up. Sign up for the KRCC Weekly Digest here and get the stories that matter to Southern Colorado, delivered straight to your inbox.