Coloradans considered to be “active” on the state’s voter registration rolls should have received their blank 2020 election ballots in the mail by this coming Friday.
They’ll then have until 7 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 3, to get their completed ballots back in order for their votes to be counted. That’s the deadline for ballots to be returned by mail — postmarks dated on or before Nov. 3 on the return envelopes won’t count if they’re not in election officials’ possession by that point — or to return them by dropping them off in secure ballot boxes that are available now.
They’ll also be able to return them in person at Voter Service and Polling Centers that will begin opening later this month. People can get replacement ballots, register to vote or update their voter registration information, get and cast ballots in person at those centers, most of which will start opening Oct. 19.
Colorado began mailing nearly 3.65 million ballots to active voters Friday. That, according to Oct. 1 voter registration totals on the Secretary of State’s website, included more than 222,500 Boulder County voters, more than 191,150 Weld County voters and more than 50,180 Broomfield voters.
“We’ve had extraordinary interest from voters in this year’s election,” Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Molly Fitzpatrick said in a Friday email.
“The Elections Division has never before had so many inquiries about when ballots are going out, when can I vote in-person, how will I know if my ballot has been counted and more. The level of interest in voting is so high. We are preparing for record high turnout,” Fitzpatrick said.
“If you the voter have made up your mind, please return your ballot to us as soon as possible,” Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes said in a Friday email.
State and county elections officials advise that Oct. 26 is the final day they suggest that voters send a completed ballot back through the mail. After that, voters should go to a county-provided drop box, or visit a county-staffed voter center to deliver their ballots.
“We encourage voters to vote when they are ready but voting early does help,” said Mircalla Wozniak, a spokesperson for the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
“For the voter, frequently the campaign phone calls and text messages slow down or stop shortly after you have returned your ballot. Additionally, if in the off chance you forget to sign your ballot envelope or we cannot verify your signature, this gives you ample time to receive the letter from our office and cure your ballot envelope for your ballot to count,” Wozniak said.
She said, “For us, we can only process so many ballots in a day. So voting early helps our office process ballots over a longer period, helping get a more complete set of results on election night.”
Elections staffs in Boulder, Weld and Broomfield counties said people mailing their ballots back should affix one first-class stamp to the return envelope. No postage is required if a voter returns the ballot to a 24-hour drop box or takes it to a vote center.
Voters who don’t want to rely on the mail to get their ballots back into their county clerks’ possession by 7 p.m. Election Day can deposit their completed ballots in secure drop boxes that became available Friday and will remain available until 7 p.m. Election Day.
Boulder County’s drop-off ballot box locations include:
- In Boulder: on the east side of the parking lot at the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 1750 33rd St. outside the east wing entrance to the downtown Boulder County Courthouse building, 2025 14th St.; outside the Boulder County Housing and Human Services offices at 3400 Broadway at Iris Avenue; outside the University of Colorado Boulder’s University Memorial Center near the UMC’s 1669 Euclid Ave. entrance.; at the CU Campus’ Williams Village, 500 30th St. bus lane, and outside the South Boulder Recreation Center, 1360 Gillaspie Drive
- In Erie, outside Meadowlark School. The box is at the staff and bus parking lot off Front Range Road and Laramie Lane
- In Gunbarrel, in Avery Brewing’s east parking lot, 4910 Nautilus Court North
- In Lafayette, outside the Lafayette Public Library, 775 W. Baseline Road
- In Longmont, outside the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s annex at the St. Vrain Community Hub, 529 Coffman St.; near the south Boulder County Fairgrounds parking lot at 9595 Nelson Road; outside the Front Range Community College C1 classroom building, 2121 Miller Drive; at Garden Acres Park between Sunset and Juniper streets on 18th Avenue, and outside the YMCA, 950 Lashley St.
- In Louisville, outside the Louisville Police Department, 992 W. Via Appia Way
- In Lyons, outside Lyons Town Hall, 432 Fifth Ave.
- In Nederland, outside the Nederland Community Center, 750 North Highway 72
- In Superior, outside the Superior Town Hall, 124 E. Coal Creek Drive
The Weld County Clerk and Recorder’s Office’s Southwest Weld County ballot drop-off boxes include locations outside the Carbon Valley Recreation Center, 701 Fifth St., Frederick; outside the Erie Community Center, 450 Powers St. and a box at the Southwest Weld County Services Complex, 4209 Weld County Road 24½, in the Del Camino area east of Longmont.
Broomfield ballot drop-off boxes are located outside the George DiCiero City and County Building,1 DesCombes Drive; outside the Paul Derda Recreation Center, 13201 Lowell Blvd.; at the northwest corner of Redpoint Ridge Park at Arista, 11337 Central Court; a box near Men’s Wearhouse at Flatiron Marketplace, 170 E. Flatiron Crossing Drive; outside the Guard House at Anthem, 16591 Lowell Blvd.; in the Vista Park roundabout parking lot, 17159 Osage St., and outside Skyestone Lodge, 1097 N. Montane Drive.
Locations of each county’s Voter Service and Polling Centers, and the dates and times they’ll be open, are posted on the voters’ county clerk’s internet election pages.
Active voters automatically receive a mail ballot in the mail in each election. An “active” voter is someone who is registered to vote and whose confirmation card or previous mail ballot was not returned as undeliverable; someone who is registered to vote and has not been identified as having moved to a different state, or someone who has recently registered or updated their voter registration since the last general election.
A number of voters are still on registration rolls but are not automatically mailed blank ballots because they’re in an “inactive” status category. That includes voters whose ballots were returned to county clerks in a past general election as “undeliverable” because those people may have moved from their address on voter registration records. Even if the Postal Service has forwarding addresses for those individuals, it cannot by law forward election ballots to their new addresses.
Those “inactive” voters may still be eligible to vote in Colorado and can get a ballot by visiting a Voter Service and Polling Center during election time. Or, they can contact their county’s or the Colorado Secretary of State’s elections division to find out more information about how to reactivate their record.
Coloradans can register to vote and cast ballots right up to 7 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 3. To be eligible to vote in Colorado, a person must be: a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old by the time of the election and a resident of this state for at least 22 days before the election. The person must not be serving a sentence of confinement or detention for a felony conviction, but people on probation or parole are eliglble to vote if they meet the other citizenship and state residency and age requirements.
The Secretary of State’s Office and county clerks advise Coloradans to make sure their voter registration information is up to date. They can do so through visiting govotecolorado.gov via the internet.
However, a scheduled computer maintenance will make all of the Department of State’s online services temporarily unavailable from about 5 p.m. Sunday until 8 a.m. Monday, whereupon people can once again consult election information there.
While Colorado has conducted statewide mail-ballot elections since 2013, Weld County’s Koppes said that “the biggest difference for this general election from prior ones is the current social distancing requirements” during the COVID-19 pandemic — a situation that some officials have predicted will prompt voters to mail their ballots back or deposit them in drop-off boxes rather than voting in person at a vote center.
In a Friday afternoon news release, Secretary of State Jena Griswold said, “Voting in Colorado is safe, secure and accessible, and it’s time for Coloradans to make their voices heard.”
Griswold said, “This election will be particularly unique because of the added access for Coloradans. Since 2018, across Colorado, drop boxes have increased by 55% and 42 voting centers have been added, enabling more Coloradans to have easy access to voting.”
Drop boxes and Voter Service and Polling Centers must be open Oct. 19 for early voting but some counties may be opening some drop boxes and voter centers earlier. This year, 383 drop boxes and 342 VSPCs will be available statewide for Colorado voters, an increase from 2018 of over 130 drop boxes, according to the Secretary of State’s staff..
To find the nearest drop box or Voter Service and Polling Center, voters can use a search tool located on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, tinyurl.com/y8ywvz5y. For the first time, voters across the state can also track their ballots from when they are sent to when they are processed by signing up for BallotTrax at govotecolorado.gov — a system that some counties, including Boulder, have made available to their voters in previous elections.
For those who prefer to vote in person at voter service and polling centers, the secretary of state has issued election rules and guidance to help ensure voting in-person is as safe as possible, including requirements for personal protective equipment for poll workers and social distancing and facial covering requirements for those workers and voters visiting the centers
Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Elections Division: bouldercounty.org/elections/ People can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-413-7740.
Weld County Clerk and Recorder’s Elections Department: tinyurl.com/wgkewl7. People can email questions to email@example.com or call 970-304-6525.
Broomfield City and County Clerk’s Elections Division: broomfield.org/153/Elections. People can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303.464.5857.