Ballot Box Jefferson County

In this file photo, a Jefferson County man drops his ballot into a secure collection box located outside Lakewood's municipal building on Nov. 5, 2019. Mail ballots start going out to Colorado's 3.4 million registered voters on Feb. 10, 2020, ahead of the state's March 3 presidential primary.

The association representing Colorado’s 64 clerks and recorders has released a fact sheet clarifying various aspects of the 2020 election, including electronic ballots, recount thresholds and the timeline for official election results.

“Due to social distancing and safety protocols, ballot processing may take longer, and therefore unofficial results may take longer. It is not an indication that there is a problem,” the Colorado County Clerks Association cautioned. Even though Election Day is Nov. 3, the results are not final until Nov. 27, following a canvass and risk-limiting audit.

Colorado first introduced mail ballots in 1993 for odd-year elections, then allowed requests for mail ballots in primary and general elections. In 2013, the General Assembly made Colorado a default vote-by-mail state.

In 2019, the legislature created an online ballot-marking option for those voters with accessibility needs. Although the voting occurs electronically, an individual must still print, sign and return the ballot.

The CCCA reported that as of 2018, 96% of Colorado’s voting-eligible population was registered, ranking third among all states. Turnout was 63% in Colorado, compared with approximately 50% nationally.

The clerks also clarified that the threshold for a mandatory recount is when the difference between the first and second place candidates is less than one-half of 1% of the votes for the leading candidate.

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