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Photo of Angela Myers, Larimer County Clerk and Recorder

Angela Myers

Clerk and Recorder

There is a lot of “noise” out in the world about the process of administering elections.  Everything, it seems, has been politicized.  As the local official accountable to you for these processes in Larimer, I am not going to go political.  I respect that some are concerned about how elections are conducted, and I am also very confident how things work here.  Let’s put the “noise” in context.

  • Mail Balloting – Colorado had many years to prepare before becoming an all-mail-ballot state in 2013 and has had many years since then to perfect our processes and vendor relationships.  As well, 2013 was a non-presidential election year.  In the world of election administration, we avoid making ANY changes before a presidential election – why? because it is our largest election, there is much more “noise” out in the world which often creates voter confusion, and any administrative error caused by lack of practice or hurried plans can cause failure and/or an uproar across the state and nation. 
     
  • Election Fraud and Mail Balloting – I am regularly asked about voter fraud, and I am proud to confidently say that intentional voter fraud very rarely occurs here.  Instead, what we see is voter confusion.  Let’s be clear though, confusion is not an acceptable excuse; and our District Attorney (DA) will still pursue those cases.  Yes, our DA takes voter fraud very seriously. 

    We are well blessed in Colorado with robust processes that minimize opportunities for fraud.   Our voter registration lists are updated weekly with information we receive from the Secretary of State’s office.  These processes took time to perfect in Colorado and are foundational to successful use of our statewide voter registration list for these types of elections.

    Changing election processes nearly always creates some element of voter confusion, which can mean disenfranchisement.  Consistency from election to election within a jurisdiction is so important – not a one-size-fits-all approach nationally, but consistency locally.   While the “noise” out in the world speaks of voter fraud with mail balloting – administrative failure for jurisdictions new to widespread use of this method should be a bigger concern.  Administrative failure or administrative confusion opens the door for fraud, especially if processes are hurried into and not well vetted.

     
  • Voting more than once is ILLEGAL – period.  In Colorado, our statewide voter registration list allows us to give credit for voting in real time.  Sure, you could go into a polling site and vote in person and then drop your mail ballot into a drop box the same day – but, THAT IS ILLEGAL and would be clear voter fraud, and you will hear from the DA. 

    Historically, when folks have attempted to vote more than once, we find that it has been more about voter confusion than intentional fraud.  It doesn’t matter if it’s confusion or not, the first ballot received will be counted, and the second ballot received will get that voter a visit from the DA.  Any attempt to “test” the system here in Larimer will be considered voter fraud and will be sent to the DA.

     
  • What about the “R” or “D” you saw on the outside of your June Primary mail ballot envelope?  When we conduct primary elections, we are actually conducting an election for each party.  In those elections, republicans are running against republicans, democrats are running against democrats, etc.  Those “R” and “D” designations were utilized by the printer for auditing and process purposes – essentially creating another way to ensure that the correct ballot was being sent to the correct voter.  You will NOT see this type of designation on the exterior of your envelope for the upcoming election (nor on the exterior of any envelope not correlating with a primary election). 
     
  • Mail Ballot Security – The security of a mail ballot is entirely in YOUR hands until you return it to us.  Please take this security very seriously.  Never give your ballot to anyone else – ever.  Not before you complete, seal and sign it – not after.  No one else will give your ballot the same security and priority that you will.  The person you may give the ballot to also has their life happening – what is the priority of your ballot if they are in a car accident, have a family emergency, or are simply distracted?

    How you vote is your personal, private information – pressure from others can degrade the security of your ballot/vote as well.  Never take a selfie of your voted ballot – when you do, peer pressure becomes a factor that degrades individual right to secrecy (not only for you). 

    As soon as you get your ballot in the mail – vote it and place it right back out for the USPS to deliver to us (more on USPS below).  If you delay in voting, drop your ballot in one of the many 24-hour ballot drop boxes located throughout Larimer County.  Nearly every municipality in our county, from Berthoud to Red Feather Lakes, has at least one 24-hour ballot drop box.  These boxes are the ultimate convenience for you, and they are under camera surveillance at all times.  If you find yourself voting your ballot closer to Election Day, grocery store drop sites become available.  Details on all of these options can be found on your Voter Instructions or at VoteLarimer.org.

    When we receive your ballot envelope, your signature on the exterior is checked against our records before your envelope is ever opened.  This ensures no one else can vote your ballot.

     
  • COVID 19 Challenges for VotingPlease don’t go into a polling site to cast your ballot unless you have no other choice.  Even then, we ask that you call us first at 970-498-7820, so we can see if there are any other options for you.  Mail ballot processes in Colorado are well vetted and sound.  During this time of COVID – no matter how you feel about health department guidelines – utilizing the mail ballot you receive in the mail, instead of coming into a voting site, is even more important.  COVID social distancing and other requirements mean that processes in voting sites can be slowed, fewer voters can be accommodated at any given time, and lines can grow (creating yet more issues). 

    If you simply must come into a voting site, please don’t wait until Election Day when volumes are highest – instead take advantage of early voting sites well in advance of Election Day.

    Go to VoteLarimer.org and register to vote NOW (if you’re not already registered), check the accuracy of your registration (especially if you’ve moved in the last year), and make a plan to vote as early as you can when your ballot arrives.   

     
  • What About U.S. Postal System issues?  We have had a long standing, collaborative relationship with leadership withing the postal system, and my team works with them to ensure our ballot envelopes (both to you and from you) are designed so they efficiently make their way through the postal system.  We have had excellent service from the USPS, meet with them regularly, and have been assured that processes here in Colorado will be business as usual.

    Postmark does not count as a received date in Colorado, we must have your ballot in our hands here in the Clerk & Recorder’s office no later than 7p on Election Day, or your ballot will not be counted.  Don’t mail your ballot any later than 8 days before Election Day (for this election that is October 26th).  As an alternative, the non-USPS 24-hour ballot drop boxes are available to you the moment ballots are in play (beginning October 12th) and until 7p on Election Day.

    Larimer ballots will be placed into the hands of the USPS on October 9th; however, we always talk about ballot delivery the following week – the week of October 12th – allowing time for the system to handle ballots for the entire state and in order not to create false expectation or concern about when you should expect to receive your ballot.  If you don’t receive your ballot by October 21st, contact our office for a replacement.

     

Don’t let the “noise” get in the way – don’t get your information from social media – please call our elections office or me directly with any concerns or questions you may have.  Voting in Larimer County this election is safe and secure – please participate.

Published on: 
Friday, September 4, 2020 - 3:42pm
Contact Details: 

Angela Myers
Larimer County Clerk and Recorder
(970) 498-7852
amyers(AT)larimer.org

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Fort Collins, CO 80521
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