Discovering that some high school students don’t know of their eligibility to vote in the November 3 general election encourages Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Molly Fitzpatrick when she sees the impact her office is making by reaching these eligible voters.
The Boulder County elections division held an informational session in Longmont on Saturday to a packed crowd at the Longmont Museum.
Last year the Colorado legislature passed voter registration reforms to make voting more accessible to the public. Some of those updates to the 1992 election code include requiring counties to locate drop boxes, voter service, and polling centers on higher education campuses and Indian reservations. Seventeen-year olds who are preregistered and who will be eighteen on the date of the next general election (November 3, 2020) are now allowed to participate in primary elections and caucuses.
But some high school students still aren’t aware of their eligibility.
As part of High School Voter Registration Week that partners the Boulder County Election Division with Boulder and St. Vrain Valley school districts, the Election Division registered nearly 200 Centaurus High School students on Friday, and is doing ongoing outreach to other high schools. This partnership also includes the distribution of nonpartisan election material, classroom announcements, and emails to students.
Because of an unexpected overflow of participants in the 2016 caucus process in Colorado, the state has turned to holding a presidential primary election that will be counted on March 3, 2020. Ballots for that election will be mailed on February 10, and voting centers will be open beginning Monday, February 24.
Colorado will continue its traditional primary process for statewide and local candidates in June.
Fitzpatrick said that results for elections out of Boulder County are never announced before 7:00 pm on the final day of any election. Those preliminary results can be seen on the Boulder County Clerk and recorder website first, and then later on the Secretary of State’s website. These results are not official because military and overseas personnel have until eight days beyond the election deadline to return ballots and because ballots from those that need to be “cured” by the voter have time to do so. Those particular issues usually involve signature discrepancies.
Election security and voter integrity was discussed in reference to equipment and processing updates that didn’t exist during the 2016 election. These changes have led to Colorado being considered by some entities to be top in the nation for election security.
Fitzpatrick outlined the steps for ballot processing that begin with ballot dissemination to voters until the tallies are reported to the Secretary of State weeks later. None of these steps includes a connection to the internet including using paper ballots, ballot collection, bipartisan oversight of the process, and signature verification to name a few.
The signature verification process in particular involves specialized training by a certified trainer to the election workers who will be overseeing ballot signatures. In the case that a discrepancy is found, the voter will receive written notification, and will have the chance to rectify the inconsistency by providing proof of identification, which also can be done by mail.
According to Fitzpatrick, 80% of Boulder County voters return their ballots to the drop box locations provided in the county, 12% return ballots by mail, and 8% vote in person. Statewide, 5% vote in person.
Ballots in Boulder County will be mailed to eligible voters beginning Monday.
Upcoming dates to remember:
Monday, Feb 10 – Ballots mailed to all Boulder County voters (non-overseas voters) for the March 3 primary.
Thursday, Feb 20 – 5:30 p.m. – Sanitas Brewing in Boulder – Free & open to the public. Click here to RSVP. Presentation on the upcoming 3 elections – Presidential Primary Election, June 30 Primary, and General Election plus information on election security, voter stats, and more. Presentation will likely be 30-45 minutes with questions. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages served. Beers for purchase.
Monday, Feb 24 – Last day to register and still be mailed a ballot / last day to request a replacement ballot be mailed to you. Note: Colorado DOES NOT have a registration deadline. Eligible voters can register and vote on the same day at any Voter Service Center. See eligibility requirements.
Monday, Feb 24 – Voter Service Centers open.
Thursday, Feb 27 – 12:00pm – 1:30 p.m. Election Open House & Ballot Processing Center Tours (tours run every 30 minutes). Click here to RSVP.
Monday, March 2 – 4:30pm – 6:00 p.m. Election Open House & Ballot Processing Center Tours (tours run every 30 minutes). Click here to RSVP.
Tuesday, March 3 – Presidential Primary – Last day to vote. Must arrive in person by 7:00 pm.