Voting Ballots 2019 Jefferson County Lakewood -3.jpg

A Jefferson County resident puts her ballot in a 24-hour drop box outside Lakewood's city hall on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s office has permanently adopted several election rules first proposed in May to adjust the administration of voting centers and account for the emergency closure of polling places.

Among the changes, county clerks would be able to close or alter the hours of any polling site, but would need to relocate operations to a backup facility if the closure would drop the number of polling places below the minimum required by law.

Clerks must also notify tribal nations that border their jurisdictions of their right to have a voter service and polling location within their borders.

There is guidance for verifying the registration status of voters, and instructions for clerks to maintain a supply of provisional ballots equal to 10% of the turnout in the previous election where similar offices were on the ballot. Finally, the rules contain provisions related to the testing of equipment and the risk-limiting audit, which validates the accuracy of election results.

Griswold’s office noted that some of the changes are to comply with state law governing mail ballot elections and federal rules for addressing voters whose eligibility cannot be immediately determined.

In written comments, the changes generally received support. However, several people attacked the notion of voting by mail, an issue that Griswold has championed nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic. One commenter, Lars Burghardt, wrote that there should be “NO mail in ballots-EVER!”

Proposing instead that the state purge voting lists of people who do not confirm their registrations, Burghardt added, “As far as voter ID goes, we all must show and IDs for everyday purchases and tasks. Voting is the most important task and deserves this protection!”

Another commenter, Mick Haegeland, wrote that “Mail in ballots are subject to fraud through the use of modern copying technology which easily can go wrong in the hands of todays in vogue political correct mobs.”

Mark Blaszkiewicz seemed to accuse U.S. Postal Service employees of affecting the integrity of elections by mail, writing that “mail delivery and postal challenges during a budget deficit year [are] causing unrest/discontent amongst postal employees.”

The Heritage Foundation, which catalogs instances of voter fraud on its website, found that in the past decade, there appeared to be four criminal convictions in Colorado arising from mail or absentee voting. Reuters reports that the ballot design itself is a principal barrier to unauthorized printing and submission of mail ballots.

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