COLORADO, USA — The election is here, and anyone who hasn’t yet voted needs to know this: The deadline for every part of the process arrives at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Anyone who missed that will have to wait until next time.
That’s the deadline to register to vote; the deadline to request a new ballot; the deadline to turn in a mail ballot; and the deadline to be in line to vote on Tuesday.
That means its already too late to stick a stamp on a mail ballot and drop it at the post office.
“It is absolutely too late – we do not recommend it,” said Carly Koppes, Weld County’s clerk and recorder.
But it’s not too late to turn it in at a voting center or a secure drop box – and it’s not too late to do everything else.
By state law, anyone who arrives at a voting center by 7 p.m. Tuesday can still register to vote and cast a ballot – though Koppes would prefer that people don’t cut it that close.
“Colorado is ‘same-day’ registration,” Koppes said. “However, we don’t recommend that you wait until that time to register.”
It’s the same for someone who never got a mail ballot – or had something unexpected happen to it.
“If you never received your ballot, or your kids got it, or coffee got it, or even your dog or your cat – and today even a parrot got a ballot – you can come to your elections department or voter service and polling center, and we will be more than happy to get you a replacement in person,” Koppes said.
Many election centers around the state are even open over the weekend – prospective voters should check with the county clerk’s office where they live.
Koppes urged voters to get their ballots in as soon as possible – with COVID-19 restrictions, people who line up at voting centers will be kept 6 feet apart – and that may create the impression of really long lines.
There are other things voters should keep in mind.
If they hear from groups trying to see if they’d already voted, or purporting to know the status of their ballot, they can check with their local clerk’s office if they have concerns.
“There have been a lot of different organizations and groups that have done voter contact work for years, and it’s legitimate,” said Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Molly Fitzpatrick. “And we know that the last several years we’ve seen an increased rate of nefarious contacts to gain access to a user’s device or information.”
In addition, she said, “There’s someone in the middle that’s trying to, you know, actually just confuse people.”
Her advice is simple: “If you think you see something, just let us know – don’t overthink it. If something feels wrong to you, just let us know.”
Even with all the focus on voter fraud, Fitzpatrick said that people should have confidence in Colorado’s system.
“Voting is incredibly safe,” she said. “We’ve been using mail ballot election model election model in Colorado since 2013. … Yes, our elections are secure. Voters should feel very confident about voting in Colorado.”
Contact 9Wants to Know investigator Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-871-1862.
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