Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

CO: Problem with Mail-in Ballots

Posted in voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 21, 2008

Just received this email from a reader in Colorado

Just letting you know what’s already being reported (but without the urgency necessary). 

I just went and got a replacement mail-in ballot, because they said they sent mine on Oct. 15th and it never arrived. I met a lady who said that they told her that hers was sent on the 8th.

In Colorado, an estimated one-third of the voters are voting mail-in, and at the Denver Elections Commission, they said there’s a problem with about half of the mail-in ballots.

My intention was to go mail-in without the mail, but I did get suckered into waiting for mine to arrive. It’s no problem getting a replacement, beyond the hassle of getting to the location. There are plenty of places where mail-in voters can put their filled-in ballots in an actual ballot box, to avoid the same hassles with outgoing mail as there are with incoming.

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Early voting begins as some wait for mail-in ballots

With Election Day just two weeks from today, tens of thousands of Coloradans who requested mail-in ballots still have yet to receive them.

County clerks, however, say they are now largely caught up processing the flood of mail-in ballot applications and that voters who have not received their requested mail-in ballots will soon get them.

“They’re done with voter registration now, so they can devote more resources to the mail ballots,” said Rich Coolidge, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, which oversees the counties’ election efforts. Oct. 6 was the final day for people to register to vote.

So far, more than 1.5 million mail-in ballots have been mailed out to voters in Colorado, according to secretary of state figures. But tens of thousands more people who have requested a mail-in ballot still have yet to receive theirs.

Denver elections spokesman Alton Dillard said 150,000 of the requested 174,000 mail-in ballots have been sent to Denver voters. The city’s elections vendor, Sequoia Voting Systems, plans to send another batch of 23,000 mail-in ballots Friday and the city has begun mailing out smaller batches of ballots as well, Dillard said.

In Douglas County, Clerk Jack Arrowsmith said the county will send out a batch of 4,500 more ballots today, but he added that the shipment won’t eliminate the county’s backlog of applications.

“We plan to be caught up by the end of the week,” Arrowsmith said.

The assurances do little to relieve the anxiety of voters who have watched the days to Election Day count down without receiving their mail-in ballots.

“It’s a big mess,” said Ernesto Alvarado, a retired school administrator in Thornton who said he heeded officials’ calls to vote by mail and avoid Election Day lines but has yet to receive his ballot.

Voters can check their requested mail-in ballots’ progress by going to www.GoVoteColorado.com and clicking the “Verify your Voter Registration Information” link. Alvarado said he did that, and the site told him his ballot had been mailed out on Oct. 13.

“But I suspect that they’re so far behind that they haven’t mailed it,” Alvarado said. “And it’s getting close.”

By law, county clerks have 72 hours after processing a mail-in ballot application to send out the ballot, Coolidge said. Voters can request a mail-in ballot until Oct. 28 and until Oct. 31 if they apply in person.

Voters who requested mail-in ballots but haven’t received them by Election Day — or voters who want to vote early at polling places instead of waiting to receive their mail-in ballots — can do so by casting provisional ballots. Before being counted, a provisional ballot mustbe verified after the polls close as having been cast by an eligible voter.

The potential complexities of it all have clerks making a new plea to voters: Return your mail-in ballots quickly.

“There’s an unprecedented number of people voting mail ballots this year,” said Larimer County Clerk Scott Doyle.

“With this long of a ballot and as long as it takes to process them, we need people to vote them and get them back to us.”

John Ingold: 303-954-1068 or jingold@denverpost.com.

One Response

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  1. shonda little said, on October 21, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Living in such a rural part of the country, I have no idea what it would be like to face such bullshit in voting. My husband’s aunt coordinates the volunteers, so she knows who I am, no harassment from anyone. I drive a mile into town, walk in and vote. Then they give me a piece of cake that the Lady Quilters bake each election. They all know I am a godless liberal, but they are still nice as pie.
    On a different note, I fear those motherfuckers are going to steal this election. Without a doubt, John McCain’s ridicules claims that ACORN, a group basically comprised of disinfrancised poor folks, could somehow manhandle the election, probably has the George W. Bush crew jealous they didn’t think up some smoke-and-mirrors shit that good. I mean, you know just HOW powerful poor folks have always been, so this is the perfect rouse to eitheer 1.) steal the election or 2.) cry like pussies if they lose, as all the polls suggest they should.


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