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Most common mistakes voters make on their mail ballots

The Denver Elections Division shared five of the most common mistakes they see from voters and what to do next if you make one of these mistakes.
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DENVER — As ballots start arriving in mailboxes for the Nov. 8 election, officials at Denver Elections Division shared with 9NEWS the most common mistakes they see when voters return their ballots.

The good news is that elections officials also explained what they do (or what the voter’s options are) when one of these things happens.

This isn’t a presidential election year, but Coloradans will vote on races including a U.S. Senate seat, all of the state's U.S. House seats, and state races including governor, secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general. There are also 11 state amendments and propositions, and municipal races and measures.

9NEWS voter guide on everything you need to know about voting in Colorado

Interactive map of every ballot dropbox and in-person voting site in the state

Signed the wrong envelope

Did you accidentally sign your spouse’s envelope? This is a common mistake, according to the Denver Elections Division.

Every voter who receives a mail ballot also receives an envelope that the completed ballot must be put into and signed before it’s either mailed back or returned via a drop box. In households with multiple voters, sometimes a voter will sign the wrong envelope.

Don’t worry too much if you do this. Elections workers will automatically relabel the envelope if your spouse lives in the same residence.

Two ballots in the same envelope

Did you and your spouse mail back your ballots in the same envelope? Both ballots will be voided and not counted, and elections officials won’t notify you because “this is an incurable ballot issue according to state law.”

The voters can visit a Voter Service and Polling Center, at which the voter whose envelope was already recorded as received (and voided) can vote provisionally. The other spouse can vote as normal.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, a provisional ballot is given to a voter whose eligibility to vote isn’t immediately clear on Election Day. Elections officials then evaluate the voter’s eligibility after Election Day to decide whether the ballot should be counted.

Mailed your ballot on Election Day

Don’t mail back your ballot after Oct. 31 this year. Instead, use a ballot drop box after that date. All ballots must be received by county clerks (or put into a drop box) by 7 p.m. on Election Day. There’s no way to guarantee a ballot mailed after a certain date will meet that deadline.

If you did this, your vote likely won’t be counted. If you’re anxious about whether the county received your ballot, you can sign up to track it here.

RELATED: Important dates to know in Colorado for the 2022 general election

You’re not in your home county

Don’t skip out on your vote because you happen to be in a different county than the one you vote in, maybe on vacation or an extended stay.

You can drop your ballot in any ballot drop box in any Colorado county before 7 p.m. on Election Day and your home county will process your ballot as normal.

That means if you have a Denver County ballot, you can put it in a drop box in Arapahoe or Mesa or El Paso county, or any other county in Colorado. Just make sure it’s in the drop box by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Ballots for out-of-state college students

This isn’t a mistake, per se, but Denver Elections Division offered up this tip for Colorado college students who are attending college out-of-state:

The student can visit GoVoteColorado.gov to update their mailing address and the county will send their ballot to their temporary address.

RELATED: Longer ballots mean it takes longer to count on election night

RELATED: Voter Guide 2022: Everything you need to know about the election in Colorado

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