How Vote by Mail Works • Step 1 - The voter receives their ballot in the mail approximately 2 weeks before Election Day.
Step 2 • The voter fills out the ballot in the comfort of their own home, office or other place of their choosing.
Step 3 • The voter places their completed ballot in the secrecy envelope provided.
Step 4 • The voter places the secrecy envelope in the return envelope.
Step 5 • A Statement on the envelope warns the voter that under penalty of perjury to sign the ballot return envelope with intent to cast any vote except by the enclosed ballot that is absolutely the voters ballot, is in violation of the “Uniform Election Code of 1992”. • It also states that voting more than once in the same election is a crime.
Step 6 • The voter returns the ballot to their County Elections office by mail, in person or by dropping it off at an official ballot drop site.
Step 7 • Election judges scan the barcode, which is unique to each voter, on the back of the return envelope. • This helps track which voters have returned their ballots.
Step 8 • Election judges who are trained in signature matching compare the signature on the back of the ballot return envelope with the signature on the voter’s registration card.
Step 8 Contd. • If the signatures do not match, the voter is then sent a letter advising them how to correct the discrepancy.
Step 9 • In order to maintain the secrecy of each ballot, election judges composed of mixed political party membership, remove and separate the secrecy sleeve (with ballot inside) from the ballot return envelopes.
Step 9 Contd. • In the second stage of the process, the same election judges remove and separate the ballot from the secrecy sleeve.
Step 10 • The ballots are tallied. • All ballots are tallied by central count tally machines.
Step 11 • If the ballot is not machine readable e.g. there are extraneous marks, the ballot will be rejected by the machine. • The Election Judges will then inspect the ballot for voter intent. • The ballot is then duplicated accordingly. • Decisions about voter intent are guided by provisions in Colorado’s Revised Statues.
Benefits of Vote by Mail • Vote by mail elections can increase turnout by four to five percentage points in general elections and significantly more in local or off-year elections. • As well as stimulating participation among citizens who never vote, it appears that the added convenience of voting by mail serves also to retain higher participation among those voters who tend to vote in general elections by making it easier for them to vote in traditionally lower-interest local, special, or nonpartisan elections. • There is a longer time period between the date of voters receiving initial ballot and the actual election day. • If a ballot is damaged, lost or not received, there is ample time to establish communication between the Election Office and a voter. A replacement ballot may then be issued with sufficient time for completion.
Benefits of Vote by Mail • Among the other benefits of mail balloting are a reduction in logistical problems associated with in-person voting on Election Day. • A reduction in poll-worker requirements (including cost), increased opportunities to conduct voter mobilization, minimizing the appeal of last-minute attack ads. • The potential to save both time and money, and deterring fraud more efficiently than photo-ID requirements used with in-person polling. • People have more time to thoroughly study issues and candidates before marking their ballot in elections conducted by mail. • Ballot auditing (Canvass) is immensely simpler due to less hands involved in keeping track of ballot usage and inventory.
Benefits of Vote by Mail • Voting by mail costs about 77 % less then previous polling place elections. • Voting by mail has built-in safeguards that increase the integrity of the elections process. • There is no evidence that voting by mail directly impacts one political party over another.
Benefits of Vote by Mail • The signature verification process, the tracking system for each ballot, and postal services cooperation in preventing ballots from being delivered to names not recognized as receiving mail at an address, reduce the risk of large scale attempts to cast fraudulent ballots.
Facts • CRS 1-8-1-4.5 became law on June 1, 2007 and allowed the registered electors of Colorado to automatically vote by mail for every election (become permanent mail-in voters) until the elector changes their voting preference.
Facts • All registered voters within the district/s involved in the 2009 Coordinated Election will receive a mail ballot. • In the past it would have been only active registered voters, thus franchising a greater number of potential voters. • As of now (7/13/09) there are currently 31,995 PMIV’s which is 31% of all registered voters. • There are also 210 UOCAVA voters that can be factored on top of the aforementioned figure.
Responsibility • As local election officials, we have a tremendous responsibility to ensure accurate and fair administration of the election process in our community. • Constantly changing laws and expectations about elections at both the State and National levels make this a very complex field to work in.
Pueblo County Clerk & Recorders Office’s • Pueblo County’s Election Department has eight devoted employees dedicated to elections; of those, five are certified Colorado Election Officials. • In addition to Elections staff, the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder is also a certified Colorado Election Official. • The Clerks staff has over 35 years of aggregate experience administering elections in Pueblo County.
91 % of all Counties reporting and 100% of large counties are administering an all Mail Ballot Election