Clerk urges voters to vote mail ballot, avoid crowds
Last updated 10/28/2020 at 9:36am
In the first several days since Voter Service and Polling Centers (VSPC) opened there has been an influx of a few thousand voters who have voted in person even though they may have received their mail ballot to vote from home.
Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman strongly urges voters to use their mail ballot rather than obtaining a new one by voting at a VSPC.
However, with the election just days away, there is no guarantee that returning a ballot by mail will get it to the Clerk’s Office in time. Those mail ballots should be returned to a drop box or VSPC between now and next Tuesday, Nov. 3.
“We want the voter experience to be positive and voting from home accomplishes that,” said Broerman. “The method of processing and counting your ballot is the same whether you vote mail ballot or in person. Our voting system in Colorado is secure and verifiable.”
Broerman suggests there are several reasons to vote at home and not in person:
COVID-19 – The Clerk’s staff has strict protocols in place for sanitization of the VSPC. But regardless, in-person voting entails public contact that you can avoid by voting at home.
Cost – The average mail ballot packet costs $2 per voter. That cost escalates to $30 per voter when a voter chooses to vote in person. The Clerk’s Office asks voters to be fiscally responsible and help contain the election costs that impact taxpayers.
Long lines and wait times – The ballot is long, and voting in person takes time. After each voter leaves, the area must be sanitized before the next voter arrives. It is more convenient and safer for voters to vote their mail ballot at home on their own time.
Colorado’s model of voting – Nationally this state is recognized as the “Gold Standard” of mail ballot voting. Our system is safe, secure, accurate, transparent and verifiable, Broerman said. To date 12 elections have been conducted since the voting model was established in 2013, including the June Primary during the pandemic. El Paso County’s Elections Office has achieved six local and national awards.
VSPC Services – The primary purposes of a Voter Center are to register new voters, update voter registrations, and issue ballots to voters that did not receive one in the mail. Voter Centers also offer ADA ballot marking devices for individuals with disabilities. If an individual prefers to vote in person, they may come to a Voter Center and receive a paper ballot to vote and deposit, or they can drop their completed mail ballot off in person. All ballots, whether mail ballot or in person are processed in the same manner.
NOTE: It is too late now to request a ballot by mail. To receive a ballot, you must visit a VSPC.
Voters will be able to track their ballot by using BallotTrax, a program implemented statewide for all counties to utilize. A voter can confirm their ballot was received and counted by the Clerk’s Office. To sign up, there is a link at http://www.epcvotes.com. Voters also may visit http://www.GoVoteColorado.gov to check the status of their ballot.
The Clerk’s Office expects turnout for the General Election to be extremely high at 80 percent. Voters who have not yet returned their ballots may do so at one of the 37 secure 24/7 ballot drop boxes throughout the county. Locations and maps are available at http://www.epcvotes.com. Early ballot returns will help the Election staff keep pace with processing so that on Election Night more results will be tabulated and ready for release.
Voters with questions can contact Clerk’s Elections staff members at 719-575-VOTE (8683).