Can someone else get his or her hands on your blank ballot or the ballot of someone who has recently moved or died? It could happen. Can they vote that ballot? Absolutely not!
Colorado has a series of protections in place:
- County Clerks can now use the U.S. Postal Service’s National Change of Address database to update the addresses of registered voters who have moved. This will substantially cut down the number of undeliverable ballots.
- Counties receive frequent updates from the State of Colorado listing people who have recently died, and those who have lost their voting rights through incarceration.
- You must sign your ballot before mailing it back or dropping it off. The county election staff compares the signature on every single ballot with the signature on file in the statewide voter registration database. This is state law, and we take it very seriously.
- Unsigned ballots or ballots with signatures that do not match are not counted. Voters who cast these ballots are mailed a notification, and they must present ID and correct the deficiency. Mail ballots in envelopes with uncorrected signatures are not counted.
- In rare cases of actual fraud, evidence is turned over to local district attorneys for possible prosecution.
Public Testing and Canvass Board
Before every election, all counties must test their voting equipment and counting equipment for accuracy. This test is conducted with a bipartisan team of volunteers, typically designated by the local political parties. These members cannot be related by blood or marriage to any of the candidates on the ballot. This test is conducted at a public meeting, and the media and public may attend.
After the election, the same group sits as the canvass board. Each county must test the accuracy of their ballot counts to the canvass board’s satisfaction. The board makes sure that the number of votes matches the number of voters, and then certifies the election. This is a public meeting.
Voter Anonymity and Privacy Protection for Ballots
You must sign your ballot envelope before you mail it in or drop it off. What protections are in place for the privacy of your vote?
Before your ballot envelope is opened, the signature is checked against the signature on file in the statewide voter database. Once the signature is validated, a very specific set of privacy procedures takes place.
Bipartisan teams of two must prepare the validated ballots for counting. One team member removes the secrecy sleeve from the envelope, stacks the envelope in a separate tray, and hands the ballot still enclosed in the secrecy sleeve to the other team member.
The other team member receives the now-anonymous secrecy sleeve and removes the ballot from it, flattens the ballot, and stacks it in a tray destined for the counting machines.
By design, these team members have differing party affiliations, and their job is to make sure your ballot is treated respectfully and anonymously, and is handled correctly for counting.