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Colorado Secretary of State says more than 3 million ballots have been returned

Secretary of State Jena Griswold also discussed safety and security during a media briefing about Election Day operations.

DENVER — More than 3 million registered voters in Colorado have turned in ballots as of noon on Tuesday, Secretary of State Jena Griswold said. 

Griswold hosted a media briefing Tuesday morning on the state's Election Day operations, where she announced Colorado had surpassed 2016's voter turnout by 10 a.m. on Election Day. 

Griswold later reported on Twitter that 79.5% of active registered voters have turned in a total of 3,003,907 ballots as of noon Tuesday. 

Griswold noted that there are more than 380 ballot boxes and more than 340 voting centers open across the state. 

She assured residents that voting in-person is safe and noted that PPE has been sent to voting centers; poll workers are required to wear masks and centers are constantly being sanitized.

However, Griswold encouraged voters to use drop boxes when able.

"Of course, if you have your mail ballot still at home, we really encourage just dropping it off at a drop box. There's no need to go inside it building," Griswold said. "But if you do go vote in person, of course, you should feel confident that it will be as safe as possible."

She also said that Colorado's election system is among the most secure in the nation.

"Colorado is the safest state to cast a ballot from a cyber standpoint," Griswold said. "That's because every vote is a paper ballot. So if they cannot be hacked it makes the entire state safer."

Griswold also said that voting equipment used for in-person voting is routinely is inspected and not connected to the internet.

There is also a post-election, risk-limiting audit that shows "within a statistical degree of certainty" that the election results are correct, Griswold said.

Griswold said there have also not been any physical incidents reported at polls.

There was one situation involving two men filming voters at a drop box in Littleton, including one who was open carrying, according to Griswold.

The men agreed to leave when asked, and the case has been referred to the attorney general's office to determine if it merits prosecution, Griswold said.

The basis of the state's voter intimidation laws is that no one can impede anyone else from casting a ballot physically or through a fear-based situation, she said. 

However, Griswold said that the voter imitation laws are open to interpretation.

"When it comes to voter intimidation there is no set test," Griswold said." There is no, 'do X, Y and Z and it's voter intimidation.' There are things that are, per se, always voter intimidation. But a lot of it is circumstantial."

Griswold was accompanied by Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder George Stern, who gave updates on how the election is progressing in Jefferson County.

On Monday, Griswold held a news conference to warn voters about disinformation from foreign actors ahead of election day.

Griswold emphasized the security of the state's elections systems during the news conference, where she also said Colorado is headed toward record voter turnout.

"We have long been considered the safest place to cast a ballot," Griswold said.

As of Monday, more than 2.5 million Coloradans had already cast their ballots, and Griswold said if past years are any indication, about a third of people who intend to vote will do so on Election Day.

She was on Mile High Mornings Tuesday where she said only about 20,000 additional ballots need to be cast to reach that record turnout. 

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