Election questions answered

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 9/07/2012 - Joe Scott of Durango who turned 18 on Friday registers to vote for the first time under a tent setup by the La Plata County League of Women Voters at Santa Rita Park.The group set up a computer with internet access to assist people to register to vote as well as answered question regarding voting procedures. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 9/07/2012 - Joe Scott of Durango who turned 18 on Friday registers to vote for the first time under a tent setup by the La Plata County League of Women Voters at Santa Rita Park.The group set up a computer with internet access to assist people to register to vote as well as answered question regarding voting procedures.

No grass grows under Joe Scott’s feet.

Scott, whose 18th birthday was Friday, was on his way to the La Plata County Courthouse to register to vote when he and his mother drove by Santa Rita Park, where an election-year information fair was under way.

“I said, ‘Let’s go in here,’” Diane Scott said. “I’d seen a flier about the event.”

They found La Plata County League of Women Voters and La Plata County Clerk and Recorder Office representatives ready to answer questions.

The clerk and recorder’s office had on hand for inspection a paper-ballot voting booth and a touch-screen voting machine that can accommodate people with disabilities.

Martha Mason, director of the Southwest Center for Independence, is promoting the touch screen among her constituency. It was Mason’s idea to hold the one-day fair.

People with disabilities who want to vote in the comfort of their home and mail their ballot may need help, which could compromise the secrecy of the vote, Mason said.

Touch-screen technology and attachments allow them to exercise their civic rights in private, Mason said.

The number of people who use the mail-in ballot is growing, county elections administrator Donna Arriza said. About 55 percent use that option, she said.

But on election day each of the county’s 20 polling places will have one each of the touch screen voting machine and the paper-ballot booth, Arriza said.

Over at the League of Women Voters table, Scott was trying to decide whether to register Democrat, Republican or unaffiliated.

“I’m on the fence,” said Scott, who is being home-schooled but is going to return to Durango High School in the spring to graduate with his class.

Vincent Ladue was dropped off by the opportunity bus in his wheelchair. He has lived in La Plata County since 2006 but last voted in Monterey County, Calif., where he worked for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Ladue seemed more eager to talk about his work with animals and his volunteer hours at the Four Corners Health Care Center than about elections and voting.

Candidates for office had campaign placards on display, but none had appeared in person by noon. At least one had a previous commitment.

Members of the volunteer Disabilities Awareness Work Group, sponsored by Mason’s agency, were on hand to help, including serving lunch.

daler@durangoherald.com

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 9/07/2012 - A roill of "I voted" stickers lay on top of a voting machine setup for demonstration Friday in Santa Rita Park by the La Plata County League of Women Voters who assisted people to register to vote and answered questions regarding voting procedure. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 9/07/2012 - A roill of "I voted" stickers lay on top of a voting machine setup for demonstration Friday in Santa Rita Park by the La Plata County League of Women Voters who assisted people to register to vote and answered questions regarding voting procedure.