Larimer County Election Information
I want to acknowledge and thank Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Meyers for personally reviewing and editing my draft of this document for accuracy and consistency with County operations. John Green Saturday, September 12, 2020
Making sure your vote counts in the November, 2020 election.
Do not get your information from social media!
http://VoteLarimer.org – the home page for all local election-related information and the official website of the Larimer County Clerk & Recorder responsible for election administration in Larimer County.
Every eligible citizen is encouraged to vote! Additional voting locations and 24-hour drop boxes are planned, which will require additional staffing over previous elections. Click the ‘Voting Locations’ link at VoteLarimer.org or consult your voter instructions (in your ballot packet) for a list of all locations and the schedule for each.
Please consider being an Election Judge. These are paid, short-term positions. Some positions are just for a day or two, others for several weeks. All Election Judges work in bi-partisan teams – no single party ever works alone. Election Judges work in the ballot tabulation facility in Fort Collins, at polling sites throughout the county, as transfer teams for emptying ballot boxes, at grocery store drop sites, etc. To learn more, and to apply, click the ‘Become an Election Judge” link at VoteLarimer.org.
Go to VoteLarimer.org (Voting Locations link) or consult the voter instructions included with your ballot for a list of full-service Voter Service and Polling Center locations, as well as Ballot Drop Box / drop-off locations. For the November election, at least eighteen (18) 24-hour ballot drop boxes will be available throughout the county from October 12th through 7:00 PM on Election Day, November 3, 2020. Using a ballot drop-off location eliminates the need for postage stamps, and for your voted ballot to travel through the postal system.
Plan Your Vote
- Ballots will begin to be mailed out on Friday, October 9, 2020, and will begin arriving in mailboxes the week of October 12th – use the link above to verify or update your registration well in advance of this date. If you do not receive your ballot by October 21st, call the elections office at 970.498.7820.
- If you need to, register to vote at the link above. You may need to submit a copy of a valid ID to complete your registration. Click here and see FAQ #4.
- Ballots are never forwarded if undeliverable as addressed – ensure that your mailing address is correct using the online link above. Ensure that your registration status is ‘active’ – if your status is ‘inactive’ contact the Elections Division, as ‘inactive’ voters are not automatically mailed a ballot.
- When you get your ballot, vote it as soon as you can. Remove the orange stub and keep it as a souvenir! Make sure you sign and date the outside of the envelope.
- Return your ballot early – preferably directly to the Elections division via a ballot drop box. This will allow your vote to be processed early and included with Election night results.
- After you return your ballot, allow time for Elections Division to receive it. To check the status of your ballot, use the ‘Track Your Mail-in-Ballot’ link at VoteLarimer.org. If you have any concerns, call the Elections office directly at 970.498.7820
Colorado / Larimer County Election Procedures
Click here to learn more about the Mail Ballot Process: VoteLarimer.org
Colorado’s ‘Mail In’ election procedures have been described as the ‘Gold Standard’ for secure and voter-friendly election operation, with good reason. Colorado got the details right. As someone who has worked as an Election Judge in Estes Park for around 10 years, I have gained some familiarity with the process.
Credit Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers for her conscientiousness and commitment to running clean, high-integrity elections. As training documentation notes, the number one responsibility for Vote Center Supervisors is to “Ensure two judges of different party affiliations work together at all times.”
Every ballot return envelope includes a bar code that identifies the voter and validates the authenticity of the ballot packet. It would be extremely difficult if not impossible to sabotage an election by counterfeiting ballots.
Your ballot is tracked and recorded in the Elections computer system through every stage of the ballot validation and counting process. Any attempt to submit more than one ballot would be detected and immediately thwarted – and would trigger a conversation with law enforcement, and prosecution if you knowingly attempted to vote more than once.
Your signature on the outside of your ballot envelope is used to verify the validity of your ballot before the envelope is ever opened. Computer Software is used to compare the signature on your ballot with the signatures you have previously provided to the Election division – on voter registration / update forms you have submitted, on signature cards you provided when voting in-person, on the ballot envelopes submitted for previous elections. The software is able to validate approximately half of the ballots received. The rest are reviewed by bi-partisan teams of trained Election Judges who visually compare the ballot envelope signature with your other signatures on file. If the signature validation election judges are not able to confirm the ballot came from you, the ballot remains sealed and is not counted. You are notified via US Mail that your signature could not be validated. If you provide an email address on your voter registration, you will also be contacted by email if your signature cannot be validated. Your ‘track my ballot’ status at VoteLarimer.org will also reflect this. You must ‘cure’ the deficiency within eight days after Election Day for your ballot to count.
To make sure that your ballot is counted, it helps if there is some uniformity of your signature to make it easier for the computer software or Election Judges to confirm that the ballot signature is yours. If you have reason to believe that your signature may have changed, you could submit a new signature sample on a registration update form at least a month prior to the election.
Of course, it is important that the Elections division have your proper mailing address, both for ballot delivery and in the event that you need to be notified of a signature validation issue.
The integrity of the election is supported by chain-of-custody records, documented by bi-partisan teams of election judges at every step of the process. From the moment the Elections division receives your ballot – in the mail or in a sealed ballot box at one of the ballot drop off / drop box locations – custody of that ballot is tracked and recorded by bi-partisan teams. Ballot box judges verify and seal empty ballot boxes with uniquely numbered tamper-proof seals. At the end of the day, ballot transfer teams take custody of the sealed ballot boxes and take them to the counting facility where bi-partisan teams monitor and perform every step of the process.
At Voter Service and Polling Centers, blank ballots are kept in sealed racks when the vote center is not opened – numbered seals are affixed, removed and recorded by bi-partisan teams. The Vote Center itself has locks changed just for its Election service.
Other Things Colorado Does Right
One of the aspects Colorado does right is to begin processing ballots as early as 15 days before Election Day. (Some states don’t begin to process ballots until Election Day, seriously delaying the reporting of results.) If you submit your ballot well in advance of Election Day, you will be able to confirm that it has been counted by following the ”Track My Ballot” link at VoteLarimer.org.
If you take your ballot to a ballot drop box, it should be shown as ‘received’ by the following day. If for some reason your ballot is not shown as received within a reasonable amount of time – you think it may have been lost in the mail, for example – call the Elections office at 970.498.7820. They will provide you direction.
If you know you will be away from home during the weeks before the election and won’t receive the ballot that is mailed to you, contact the Elections office directly at 970.498.7820. They will assist to ensure you are able to vote.
NEVER give your ballot to someone else to deliver for you. Instead, return your ballot by mail, drop it into a 24-hour box, etc. If someone offers to deliver your ballot for you, ask them for a ride to the drop site instead. No one else is going to give your ballot the priority or security you will.
Monday, September 14, 2020
Laura J Emerson posted this on the Dam-to-Dam facebook page:
Voters in all 64 counties will be able to track the status of their individual mail ballots for the 2020 General Election. Voters will be able to receive notifications by phone, email, or text about the status of their mail ballots, from the time their County Clerk and Recorder mails the outgoing ballot packet, to when their voted ballot is received and accepted for counting.
The Larimer County Elections office confirmed that this is a legitimate state and county supported notification service.