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VERIFY: No, you don’t need to mail your ballot 14 days ahead of the election

A viral post about the 2020 general election is misleading voters about the logistics of mail-in elections.

DENVER — You may have seen a viral post circulating on social media about the 2020 general election and mail-in ballots. It says that if you don’t mail your ballot in 14 days before the election, your vote may not count. After it went viral, the original post was removed by Twitter and Instagram because of its inaccuracies.

So when do those ballots need to be mailed? The 9NEWS VERIFY team spoke with Colorado’s Secretary of State and the Denver County Clerk and Recorder’s Office to find out. 


Do Colorado voters need to mail in their ballots 14 days in advance? 


No, there’s no set date for ballots to be postmarked in Colorado, but it's still a good idea to allow plenty of time for it to get there. Both Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Denver County Clerk and Recorder Communications Manager Alton Dillard II said the state recommends ballots be mailed eight days before the election so they reach the County Clerk’s offices by the time polls close on Election Day.


“What we suggest to Coloradans is mailing back their ballots by eight days prior to the election, so that date that's circulating is indeed incorrect,” Griswold said. 

This is because ballots need to be in your respective county clerk’s office when polls close at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. If the ballot hasn’t made it to the county clerk by then, it won’t be counted. Eight days gives the ballots enough time to get to the right offices, but again, it’s just a suggestion. 

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The social media post says ballots need 14 days for a full return trip, meaning they travel from the elections office to you, and then back to the county clerk for counting. This includes time to request a mail-in ballot. But according to Denver County’s Board of Elections, all ballots are automatically mailed out more than three weeks before the election. You don’t need to specially request one since Colorado’s elections are mail-in to begin with. 

Even if you don’t get your ballot in the mail eight days before, both Griswold and Dillard said there’s no need to worry.

“Keep in mind in Denver and Colorado there are numerous options by which voters can return ballots,” Dillard said. “Mail is just one.”

Griswold estimates there will be about 300 polling locations where voters can return their ballots and vote in person, or you can leave it in a ballot drop box in your county. Those locations can be found on each county’s election website, or by checking your registration with the state here