Prudent political observers may experience a sense of deja vu in this year’s race for Arapahoe County clerk and recorder as the candidates on both sides are identical to the ticket four years ago.
Republican Matt Crane is fending off another challenge from Democrat Joan Lopez this year for the clerk post in Arapahoe county.
The county clerk provides a bevy of services to residents, including providing marriage and civil union licenses, passport applications, motor vehicle registration, voter registration and ballot disbursement.
Crane, a Littleton resident, is seeking a second full term in the office after he received an appointment to the position in March 2013 when previous Clerk and Recorder Nancy Doty won a seat on the Board of County Commissioners.
Crane has worked in the clerk and recorder’s office since 2007.
Lopez, too, has worked in the clerk and recorder’s office for nearly 20 years. She said she’s interested in running to make the office more efficient, based on recommendations from the employees and customers she interacts with on a daily basis.
Republican Matt Crane, a Littleton resident, is seeking a second full term as Arapahoe County Clerk after he received an appointment to the position in March 2013 when previous Clerk and Recorder Nancy Doty won a seat on the Board of County Commissioners. Crane has worked in the clerk and recorder’s office since 2007.
Democrat Joan Lopez, a Denver native and Aurora resident, has worked in the clerk and recorder’s office for nearly 20 years. She currently works within the Department of Motor Vehicles side of the office.
“This is my career — I know every system, every department and I’ve actually worked all the departments,” said Lopez, who is a native of Denver and current resident of Aurora. “I just felt like that’s the person that should be running the show, not somebody’s buddy or somebody that was appointed.”
In a press release announcing her campaign, she said she would clean-up the driver’s license appointment process for renewals, and streamline updates to voters’ files to be absolutely sure people receive their ballots after they move to a new address. Lopez, who currently works with the Department of Motor Vehicles side of the office, added she would work to buoy the number of voting machines and election officials in Aurora.
Crane said his office has seen negligible levels of voter fraud under his watch, despite widespread calls of the practice at the federal level.
“It’s extremely, extremely low,” Crane said. “When you have people running around calling, ‘fraud fraud fraud,’ it’s frustrating because we’re very proud of the system we’ve created — we don’t have a big problem with voter fraud.”
The majority of local residents interact with Crane’s office through the Arapahoe County DMV, which sees more than a million transactions each year, he said.
Crane’s office lobbied the Colorado Legislature to tweak state law several years ago to allow digital kiosks in area DMV offices in an effort to cut down on wait times.
The Republican credits the machines, first rolled out in local offices early last year, with helping cut down wait times at the DMV by about 45 percent. He said the current wait is now down to about 15 minutes.
Lopez said the clerk’s office isn’t doing enough to leverage the machines.
“I think we need to be using them a lot more,” she said. “I see the amount of transactions that go through and it’s not enough. We need to make sure that people can assist themselves when they walk in instead of wanting several hours in line just to get their renewal done.”
Crane said his office has plans to add the kiosks to King Soopers stores across the county, as well as add services to the machines, including driver’s license and car registration renewals.
“We’re helping the DMV become more accessible to citizens, so instead of going to the DMV and waiting in long lines, people can use these services while they’re shopping,” Crane said.
Crane has so far been able to nab more money than Lopez, raising about $21,000 and spending less than 30 percent of that sum so far, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
Lopez has attracted about $8,500 to her campaign, and spent about half of that.
She currently has about $4,000 available, while Crane has nearly $17,000 on-hand.