“There are so many misconceptions in the public about what we do here,” said Elbert County Election Manager Rhonda Braun. “We don’t do something sinister in some back room. We encourage them to come see us and ask questions.”
To help alleviate rumors or suspicions around the election process, Braun and Clerk and Recorder Dallas Schroeder held an Election Procedures Evening for the public at the Elbert County Courthouse in Kiowa on June 9.
Braun and Schroeder answered questions from around 20 residents in attendance, and the presentation featured explanations of the lifespan of a typical ballot, verification procedures, and methods for ensuring voter privacy and signatures.
“We are looking for reasons to accept. We’re not signature experts. We’re not trying to make sure every little “t” is exactly the same,” said Schroeder. “One thing we do monitor with our election judges is the rate of rejection.”
Following a tiered review process, voters whose ballots have questioned signatures are contacted by Braun and have eight days after Election Day to “cure” their ballots.
For a mail-in election, voters have the option of delivering ballots to a local drop box or sending them through the mail. Regardless of delivery, the barcode on the unopened envelope is scanned into the Statewide Voter Registration System (SCORE), which marks it received.
Once the ballot count is completed by election volunteers from both parties, the number of ballots recorded in SCORE is compared with final counts recorded by county voting machines.
Three weeks prior to the presentation, the county tested its ballot-tallying machines using test ballots provided by representatives of the two major parties. On May 20, Jill Duvall, chair of the Elbert County Democrats, and Danny Willcox, secretary of the the Republican Central Committee, participated in the Logic and Accuracy (L&A) test of voting equipment.
Schroeder explained that during the test, two machines failed to match the hand counts and were replaced with other machines owned by the county. The same group will test the machines at the end of ballot counts and together certify the election.
Braun advises voters to track their ballots at the Go Vote Colorado webpage of the Colorado Secretary of State.
“You can go to Go Vote Colorado, and you can look up your record, you can see a picture of your (blank) ballot … It will tell you when your ballot was received,” she said. “It’s a pretty slick deal that you can do yourself.”
Voters can also find out if their ballot was accepted or rejected, register to vote, change party affiliations and change their address on the site.
A link to www.GoVoteColorado.com is posted on the county’s website.