Guest Commentary: Election Day is fast approaching

The November 4 General Election is just a few weeks away. Ballots are due to be mailed the week of October 13. An important part of administering elections is keeping you informed and providing you insight into how the process works. Formal “Notice of Election” pieces can be found in nearly all local papers this time of year, but I wanted to provide you with some additional information.

By Angela Myers, Larimer County Clerk & Recorder

In 2013, the State Legislature decided that all elections in Colorado will be conducted by mail ballot and that qualified citizens who have lived in Colorado for at least 22 days before Election Day can register to vote up to and on Election Day.

This means that, if you are already registered to vote, you will receive a ballot in the mail. Let me encourage you to vote the mail ballot you receive. Some voters have been led to believe that ballots received in the mail may not be as private as ballots received at Voter Service and Polling Centers (VSPCs). This is simply untrue.

Unless you have spoiled your ballot (dog ate it, made a mistake on it, etc.), there is no reason to get a replacement ballot at a VSPC – the ballot you receive at the VSPC is the same as you receive in the mail. Replacing a ballot increases the cost of the election – a cost that is born by you, the taxpayer.

It is important to remember that you should handle your ballot carefully – it is your voice in the operation of your government. You should not hand it over to just anyone who is “collecting” ballots. When we receive voted ballots they are handled by bi-partisan election judges, and a secure chain-of-custody is maintained at all times. When you hand your ballot to an unauthorized person, that ballot is potentially at risk.
Ballots can be mailed back for only 70 cents postage. Otherwise, three drop-off locations (at each of our Clerk & Recorder offices in Fort Collins, Loveland and Estes Park) will be open beginning October 14. Five additional drop-off sites (located at specific grocery stores in Fort Collins and Loveland) will open beginning October 31. Seven VSPCs will open beginning October 20, and an additional seven VSPCs will open on Election Day.

All these details, and more can be found at www.votelarimer.org. At this website you can also register to vote, check your registration status, view a sample ballot and track your ballot through the process.

If you hear or see something about the election process that concerns you, or if you simply have questions, please feel free to contact me directly at 970-498-7852. Please be encouraged that the process of elections administration in Larimer County is undertaken with the integrity needed to ensure your vote is accurately counted and your voice is heard.

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