With only a few days until the election – some of you may still have questions about the voting process. That’s why we spoke with a non-partisan organization – Just Vote Colorado (JVC), a consortium aiming to protect the American vote – to narrow down the details about casting your ballot in the state.
According to Amanda Gonzalez, executive director at Colorado Common Cause and spokesperson at JVC, election protection is key for the organization this year. Gonzalez explained JVC has teams that are working to ensure election safety. They will be available to answer hotline calls and texts in case voters experience any issues when voting.
As of October 28, 2020, more than 2 million ballots have been cast in Colorado. To ensure more votes are counted this year – it’s important to stay up to date as we witness one of the most polarized elections in many of our lifetimes. From voter suppression to tracking your ballot – this is what experts think you should know about voting in the colorful state of Colorado.
What is voter suppression?
When talking to Gonzalez – one of the first things we discussed is voter suppression, what it is and whether or not voters should be concerned. According to JVC – voter suppression, “Is when a group or individuals attempt to stop people from exercising their legal right to vote.” Gonzalez states the organization has not witnessed any active voter suppression this year. But if it does occur – report it. If you or someone you know is a victim of voter suppression – JVC strongly encourages you to call their hotline.
Is it too late to vote by mail?
Yes. October 26, 2020 was the deadline for mailing in your ballot. If you still have the ballot that was mailed to you – it can be dropped off at any dropbox in your county. Keep in mind that if you mail your ballot now – election officials will not receive it in time for Election Day. Go here for more information on how to find a ballot dropbox.
How Will Voting in-Person Be Different Due to COVID-19?
According to the Secretary of State’s website, polling locations will follow all “public health guidelines and taking all the necessary measures to ensure that voters are safe while at a voter service and polling center.” That means you will be required to wear a mask, practice social distancing and locations and equipment will be cleaned regularly. In a press conference on October 27, Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock also ensured that Denver’s new capacity restrictions will not affect voting. “I want to be very clear this does not impact vote centers. Vote centers are safe,” said Hancock.
Can you still vote if you didn’t receive a ballot?
According to JVC – one of the greatest aspects of voting in Colorado is the ability to cast your ballot on Election Day. Gonzalez points out that because the state has same-day registration and voting – so you can register in-person to vote up until the last minute. However, online registration ended on October 26. As long as you have lived in Colorado for 22 days, are a US citizen and not serving a sentence of confinement for a felony conviction – you are eligible to vote. Remember to bring some form of ID with you to cast your ballot. If you are not sure which type of ID to bring – Colorado accepts 16 different types.
Can someone turn you away at the polls?
Even if you do not have a valid form of ID – it is your legal right to participate in the election. Voters without an ID can obtain a provisional ballot in the state of Colorado – permitting them to vote. In the event you are turned away for any other reason – such as racial discrimination or voter intimidation – ACLU recommends contacting your local election official. Another option is to contact the JVC hotline. Remember that voter intimidation is illegal and is completely intolerable.
For more about your legal voting rights – visit ACLU.
Can you ensure your vote is counted?
Once you cast your ballot – ensuring your vote is simple to do and strongly encouraged. First – remember to sign your ballot. No signature means your vote won’t count. In the 2016 presidential election – 67% of rejected ballots did not count because of a signature discrepancy. It’s also important that you double-check to see if a copy of a photo ID is required along with your ballot. This is common for people who are new voters – or in other words – have never registered to vote in Colorado.
Once you have voted, make sure to visit BallotTrax – a tracking system that allows voters to track their ballot. You can also check on your registration status here or contact Just Vote Colorado for assistance.
If you are going to be traveling on Election Day – can you vote remotely?
If you are going to be traveling on Election Day – you can still vote as long as you are in Colorado. To do this – visit a voting service and polling center near you to request a statewide ballot. With a statewide ballot, you can still vote for a presidential candidate and statewide ballot measures.
If you are out of state – it is too late to mail your ballot in. To make sure your vote counts – visit any polling center in Colorado or the state you reside in.
Can you vote if you have been displaced by a wildfire or are experiencing homelessness?
You can still vote in the state of Colorado if you are currently displaced by a wildfire. If you happen to have your original ballot with you – you can take it in-person to any dropbox. But if you do not have your original ballot – you can visit a polling place near you and request a statewide ballot before 7 p.m. on November 3, 2020. Gonzalez also states, “You have not lost your voting rights, even if you are homeless.” If you are currently experiencing homelessness – you can vote in-person using the place you sleep most often as your address.
It’s not too late to vote in the state of Colorado. To ensure your vote counts in this year’s election – make sure to check your registration status, track your ballot and mark your calendar for November 3, 2020. As Gonzalez states in an interview, “Voting is a fundamental right…all of us have a voice and we all should exercise that voice.”
For more information on the 2020 presidential election – check out our User-friendly Guide to the 2020 Colorado and Denver Ballot.