Election Day in Colorado is coming, and here’s what you need to know.
Ballots were mailed to all active registered voters the week of October 17. Remember, the entire state is mailing ballots at the same time, so be patient. If you don’t receive your ballot by October 26, contact the Larimer County Elections office (970-498-7820) for a replacement. If you’re going to be out of town before ballot delivery and won’t be back in town until after the election, call the elections office to make other arrangements.
You must be registered to vote to receive a ballot and ballots are not forwardable. Get prepared right now. If you’ve moved, make sure your address is correct in our system. Go to vote.larimer.gov to register or to check the status of your registration. Those registering by October 31 will receive a ballot by mail – after that date, registering and voting can be done at a Voter Service and Polling Center. Colorado is also a same-day registration state – you can register to vote up until 7 p.m. (close of polls) on Election Day.
If you receive a ballot at your residence for someone who no longer lives there – whether a former resident or a relative who has moved out, simply write “Return to Sender – No Longer at This Address” on the outside of the unopened envelope and return it in the mail. Doing so helps keep the voter registration rolls clean.
It is illegal to vote on someone else’s ballot. Even if you “think” you are doing them a favor and know what they would want, you are committing election fraud. Don’t do it. Each return envelope should contain only one ballot. Each voter within a residence must return their ballot in their envelope. If two ballots are returned in the same envelope, neither ballot will be counted.
Returned ballots must be received by the Clerk & Recorder’s office no later than 7 pm on Election Day, November 8. A postmark does not count as received, so if you are returning your ballot after October 31, use a 24-hour drop box or bring it directly into a Voter Service and Polling Center drop box.
We cannot open your returned ballot envelope until we confirm your signature on the exterior. Don’t forget to sign the envelope. Check that it is your name printed underneath the signature line. It’s illegal to sign someone else’s envelope.
Never give your ballot to anyone else. Until October 31, you can simply place your voted ballot (inside your signed return envelope) back in your mailbox for the postal service to return for you. A single first-class stamp will do. With a few exceptions, 24-hour, camera-monitored ballot boxes are located within nearly four miles of all Larimer County residents. And, if you just can’t get to a place to drop your ballot, ask for a ride, rather than handing over your ballot for someone else to deliver.
“We take great care with your ballot, you should too,” says Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers. “The person you might give your ballot to likely won’t give it the same level of care you would, and your ballot may not make it to us.”
If more than 20,000 ballots are received on Election Day, counting will not finish on Election Night. Remember – whether you vote in person at a voting site or vote the ballot you receive in the mail – all ballots are paper ballots, and all are processed at our central count facility.
“It is my desire that all ballots be counted by the end of Election Night,” said Myers. “But it’s not what I want that matters – what matters is what the voters want. If they want Election Night results, they will vote early. If we receive more than 20,000 ballots on Election Day, we will stop and continue counting on Wednesday.”
Life happens and voting early also ensures that something unexpected won’t keep you from voting. Also, if you prefer not to receive campaign calls, voting early will help remove you from those call lists. You don’t have to vote on every race or issue on the ballot – but please do take the time to examine all your opportunities to be heard. Your ballot will be counted exactly as you vote it.
There’s no need to wonder. All the information you need to get your ballot returned successfully is included in the voter instructions you receive with your ballot. You can also go to vote.larimer.gov to check the status of your registration, your voted ballot, voting, and ballot drop sites, etc. Proudly wear your “I Voted” sticker. It’s conveniently located at the top of your voter instructions, which are included in your ballot packet.
If you have any questions about election processes in Larimer County, you are welcome to call Myers directly at 970-498-7852. Every single vote matters. “We’ve had several races in Larimer County decided by just a few votes in recent years,” says Myers. “Your vote may be the deciding factor.”