All eligible registered voters in Colorado receive a ballot by mail. You can choose to return your voted ballot by mail, ballot drop box, or at a Voter Service and Polling Center (VSPC). Your mail ballot will be sent to the mailing address you provided when you registered to vote. To check or update your voter registration information, please visit GoVoteColorado.gov. Mail (paper) ballots are the most secure way to conduct an election. They can’t be hacked, are completely auditable, are processed every step of the way by teams of election judges representing different political affiliations, are stored in secure facilities with locks and cameras, and are regarded as a national model for elections security and high voter turnout. Watch and share the Life of a Ballot video on DouglasVotes.com to see the process in action!
In every Colorado county, all elections staff members and election judges are required to follow the same detailed federal and state laws regarding the conduct of elections. Every elections worker undergoes a criminal background check and must take an Oath and Acceptance to perform all duties according to the law to prevent fraud, deceit, and abuse in the conduct of elections. Election judges work in teams of different political affiliations in each phase of ballot processing to serve as an additional layer of checks and balances. Seals and seal logs are used in the collection and transport of all ballots to ensure chain of custody and that all ballots are protected and accounted for at each stage of the process.
A public Logic and Accuracy Test is conducted before each election to ensure the integrity of the voting system, and a public Risk Limiting Audit is conducted after each election to verify votes were counted correctly. All ballot scanning and tabulation equipment is air-gapped, meaning its wireless capabilities are permanently disabled so it cannot be connected to the internet or hacked.
The testing, processes, protections, and audits in place in Colorado ensure that the conduct of the election and the voting system used in every Colorado county accurately records the votes of Coloradans, and it is proven in every election.
Yes. Over 90% of Douglas County residents choose to return their ballots to one of the 21 convenient ballot drop boxes located across the county. Ballot drop boxes includes several layers of security:
The voter signature provided on each ballot return envelope is compared to the signature on file in Colorado’s statewide voter registration database to confirm that each voter has returned only one ballot and that the voter identification is valid.
If a signature cannot be verified, a team of election judges representing different political affiliations compares it to additional signatures on file for that voter from a previous voter registration form, ballot return envelope, or Colorado Driver’s License.
If the signature still cannot be verified, or if the ballot return envelope has a missing signature or an ID Required voter has failed to provide a copy of acceptable identification with their returned ballot, the voter will be contacted by mail (and email address if it has been provided) by Douglas County Elections to “cure” their ballot.
Voters have until eight days after election day to address (“cure”) any issues with their ballot in order to make sure their votes are counted. If the voter does not respond to the request to cure their ballot by the deadline, the ballot is rejected. Based on data from previous Douglas County elections, approximately 1% of returned ballots must be cured.
One of the strongest security features of Colorado elections is our statewide voter registration database. Here’s why:
Every valid mail ballot is counted. To ensure your ballot is valid, follow the instructions on your ballot regarding how to mark your choices and make any corrections. Also read the instructions on your ballot return envelope and sign your ballot return envelope.
For your ballot to count, your county clerk must receive your ballot no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. Postmarks do not count. If you are unsure whether your ballot will arrive through the mail on time, deliver it in person at one of the convenient ballot drop box locations throughout Douglas County or at a Voter Service and Polling Center. If you are registering to vote for the first time, you may need to provide a copy of your ID with your mail ballot. These instructions will be provided with your mail ballot.
You can monitor the status of your ballot every step of the way by signing up to Track Your Ballot using phone, email, or text message notifications. Also, watch and share this short Life of a Ballot video on DouglasVotes.com to see the security and integrity of the Colorado elections process in action.
Election results are tabulated and reported to the public beginning after 7 p.m. on Election Day at DouglasVotes.com. Counties must produce preliminary, unofficial election results a minimum of three times on election night: after the polls close but no later than 8 p.m., at or around 9 p.m., and at least one additional time on election night.
Mail (paper) ballots are the most secure way to conduct an election. Processing every piece of paper also takes time. Counting votes is not complete on election night. It is normal for ballot tabulation to take several days to complete. Factors like high voter turnout, a high volume of ballots returned closer to the 7 p.m. election night deadline (rather than during the early voting period), and the length of the ballot may also increase ballot processing times.
There is also a statutory eight-day period following election day to allow for electors to cure a signature discrepancy or missing signature; to provide missing ID for a mail or provisional ballot; and for ballots cast by military and overseas citizens to be received. Ballot tabulation is not complete until this eight-day period is over.
Counties must report complete results to the Secretary of State by the 10th day after Election Day. Results are not official until the Board of Canvass certifies them by the 22nd day after Election Day.
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) defines MDM in this way:
According to CISA, a lack of public understanding of election processes combined with the changing landscape of technology and communications creates new risk for the spread of MDM. This includes inaccurate information about the election process, unsubstantiated rumors, and incomplete or false reporting of results. Here’s what you can do:
Keep it real. Think before you link so you don’t spread mis/dis/malinformation.
Separate rumor from reality. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) debunks potential areas of mis/dis/malinformation.
Educate yourself. Visit the Colorado Secretary of State website Opinions Are Fun. Facts are Better for accurate election information. The website includes this fact sheet explaining the myths of voter fraud.
Know the system. Colorado is regarded as a national leader in the security and integrity of elections. Watch the Douglas County Life of a Ballot video to see the process in action!
Track your ballot. Track the status of your mail ballot, from mailed to accepted. BallotTrax is a ballot tracking and messaging system that provides voters with notifications by phone, email, or text about the status of your mail ballot. Click here to check the status of your ballot and to select your notification preferences.
Make sure your vote counts. Any voter who has a signature discrepancy is notified by the county clerk via US mail. That notification includes an affidavit with instructions on how they can return the signed paper affidavit with a photocopy of an acceptable form of ID to their county election office. The affidavit also contains instructions for voters to use the TXT2Cure system, if they instead prefer to use their smartphones to submit the information necessary to ensure their ballots are counted.