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The Chaffee County Clerk’s Office announced completion of renovations to its ballot processing room at 104 Crestone Ave. and will offer tours of the space Wednesday and Thursday.

The Wednesday tour will start at 9 a.m., and the Thursday tour will be at 3 p.m. Preregistration through the clerk’s office is required.

The upgrades will provide a more open flow during elections and allow for clear visual monitoring of all ballot processing operations, according to a press release issued Monday afternnon.

Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell said she recognized during the 2020 general election that configuration of the ballot processing space was not optimal for the election management workflow nor was it ideal to accommodate COVID-19 social distancing precautions.

In January, she initiated renovation of areas within the courthouse basement to create a larger, open space where all ballot processing steps could be performed in the same room. The newly renovated space will also better accommodate more bipartisan election watcher volunteers, the release stated.

“The integrity and transparency of our elections have always been top priorities. We know there were some major issues with the video system in the 2020 election, and so we’ve made system-wide improvements to ensure every facet of the elections process, including the video surveillance system, is exceptionally strong for the 2021 election and beyond,” Mitchell said in the release.

The clerk’s office has contracted with an elections specialist to provide additional support during the 2021 election cycle. The specialist is the past executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association and has more than 15 years of local government elections expertise in Jefferson County.

Mitchell said she has also requested an on-site physical security assessment of Chaffee County facilities from the Colorado Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to further evaluate the building and offices used for elections.

Group sizes for the tours will be limited due to COVID-19 precautions, and all participants will be required to wear a face mask while indoors. Call the clerk’s office at 719-530-5604 for more information and to reserve a spot on the tour.

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