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Things to know before caucus night

Republican and Democratic Party members will have more than candidates to think about when they attend their caucuses this year: Feb. 7 for Republicans and March 6 for Democrats. They’ll have new precinct numbers to remember, too.El Paso County’s Clerk and Recorder, Wayne Williams, completed a reorganization of the county’s precincts in January. The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved Williamís changes.Williams said precinct boundaries had to be redrawn so precincts didnít overlap the new Colorado House and Senate district boundaries, established by the state reapportionment commission in December.At the same time, Williams cut the number of precincts in half ñ from 404 to 199 ñ by making them larger geographically, in terms of registered voters.Most of the new precincts have from 1,500 to 1,700 registered voters, which is enough cushion to allow for growth under Colorado’s limit of 2,000 registered voters per precinct, Williams said.Fewer precincts also make sense because 60 percent of voters now vote by mail or vote early, he said. ìWe no longer need quite as many precincts for people to vote on Election Day,î Williams said.In 2010, early and mail-in voting allowed the county to cut the number of polling locations from about 200 to just over 100 ñ cuts that saved the county money.Williams credited the executive directors of both political parties for their help in completing the reorganization in time to meet state deadlines.ìThe Democratic Party was pleased to work with Wayne Williams and the staff at the county clerk’s office on the changes to precincts,î said Christy Le Lait, executive director for the party. ìWhile this is a significant change ñ and much more than other counties ñ in the end, I think it will streamline the election processes.îWilliams said his office will send out new voter information cards to the county’s active affiliated registered voters by the end of January. The cards will include new precinct numbers and information about each party’s caucus locations.House district changesBefore reapportionment, the Falcon area’s representation in the Colorado House was split, with the area north of Woodmen Road in House District 20 and the area south of Woodmen Road in HD 19.Now, all of Falcon is in HD 19, which, by far, is the county’s largest house district geographically, stretching from the county’s northern to its southern border and extending west to include Black Forest.ìI think it makes sense because the communityís interests are the same: water, transportation and military,î Looper said. ìI’m excited about it.î Looper represents HD 19.Before redistricting, 40 percent of voters in HD 19 were registered as Republican. After redistricting, 60 percent are registered as Republican, she said.In the face of oil and gas development in the county, Looper is working on a bill that will require disclosure of severed mineral estates when selling real estate in Colorado.If her bill passes, from that point on, an established severed mineral estate must be recorded, she said.Looper is also working on a bill to establish licensing reciprocity for military spouses who hold licenses in other states, so they can immediately begin working in Colorado.In the transportation area, Looper has introduced a bill that allows Colorado businesses a permanent tractor trailer plate for a one-time fee of $100 to $150. The current $4,000 cost to license a tractor trailer in Colorado has up to 50,000 tractor trailer companies with trucks that cross state lines licensing their trucks in other states.ìWe have a lot of truck drivers out here in small businesses, hauling furniture and pipe and doing agricultural hauling,î Looper said. ìI’m trying to stop the bleeding and encourage our Colorado businesses to register those tractor trailers in Colorado.îSenate district changesAccording to the map distributed by the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s office, as a result of reapportionment, the Falcon area is now split in terms of state senate representation.ìNorth Falcon,î bounded by Woodmen Road, Highway 24 and Elbert Road, continues to be in Senate District 10, currently represented by Republican Bill Cadman.ìSouth Falcon,î bounded by Woodmen Road, Highway 24, Judge Orr Road and Curtis Road, is now in Senate District 12, currently represented by Republican Keith King.Areas east of Curtis Road and Elbert Road are in Senate District 2, currently represented by Republican Kevin Grantham.

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