There's not much good news these days for J.J. Jamison, Teller County's clerk & recorder, whose election responsibilities have been taken over by the Colorado Secretary of State's office.
But every little bit helps, takes the bite out of the censure Jamison received from the Secretary's office, due, in part, to the snafus during the primary election in June. .
“We stumbled across something yesterday that we view as savings for the county, something that's been a mistake for years,” she said.
Jamison credits Teresa Stitt, supervisor for the Department of Motor Vehicles, for uncovering the error. “Finance is looking into it but they are very hopeful,” she said. “Until it's confirmed, I can't go into it.”
In the meantime, revenue collected through the DMV enhances the bottom line in the clerk's office. “We send out 3,000 to 5,000 renewal cards every month,” Jamison said.
As well, the state-mandated late fees help fund the cost of elections. “Keep those late fees coming,” she said with a smile.
The fees for late registration are from $25 a month to a maximum of $100. “Of course the account is being tapped for this election and will probably be drained by the extra expense,” she said.
Speaking to a scathing report about the primary elections and Jamison's role specifically in the mismanagement of the election, she offers a defense. “Walking into an office with no one trained in elections and no policies and procedures in place has been expensive in a lot of ways,” she said. “I lost my election staff two weeks before the primary, so, of course, I need the Secretary of State's help.”
The report cites the lack of election training in the clerk's office. “We went to all the training classes, twice a year during the clerk-and-recorder conferences,” she said.
Casting a positive spin on the recent takeover of her office, as far as elections are concerned, Jamison praised Al Davidson, who represents Scott Gessler, the Secretary of State. “Mr. Davidson has been a huge advantage; he's a delightful man, easy to get along with, very experienced in elections,” she said.
To a charge by Commissioner Dave Paul that the election cost had escalated from $82,000 to more than $200,000, Jamison said the estimates would be reconciled after the election. “I don't know if those figures are accurate; I can't report on those until we're done,” she said.
Jamison acknowledged that Davidson had requested funds for extra equipment for the election Nov. 6. “Certainly Mr. Davidson is pulling in some resources we wouldn't have thought of, which is creating some costs,” Jamison said, referring to new laptops and other equipment. “We would have known nothing better than to make do with what we had.”
Along with Davidson and Deb Silva from the Secretary's office, four members of Jamison's staff are working on the elections, including Krystal Brown and Stephanie Fisher.
Asked if she ever thought about resigning, Jamison paused a few seconds and said, “Why would I do that? I've not done anything wrong,” she said. “You resign when you've done something wrong.”