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Rumor spurs Arapahoe voters to give up mail-in ballots

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By Vicky Gits

Some voters turned in their mail-in ballots to Arapahoe County election officials at early-voting centers because of an unfounded rumor that mail-in votes don’t count in this election.

It also is not true that the “I Voted” stickers that went out in the ballot mailing left an imprint that could create a false vote.

Nancy Doty, Arapahoe clerk and recorder and the county’s head election official, said about 100 people came to early-voting locations on Oct. 22, asking to return their ballots and vote by machine instead.

There is no reason to give up ballots received in the mail, Doty said. Every ballot counts as long as it is received by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Doty said. Giving up ballots is legal under election law but entails more administrative work at the polling place, she said.

“I have no idea where the rumor came from. I heard the same rumor in 2010,” Doty said. Her office sent out a news release advising citizens to disregard the rumor.

“If you received a mail-in ballot, there is no need to go to the polls to cast a substitute ballot on a machine,” Doty said. “Take your time to consider the candidates and issues from the comfort of your home, and then drop off your mail-in ballot with total confidence that it will count, just the same as any vote cast on a voting machine.”

In Arapahoe County, mail-in ballots cost 65 cents in postage. In Jefferson County the ballots can be mailed for 45 cents.

Josh Liss, Jeffco deputy of elections, said he hadn’t heard of anyone in Jefferson County so far trying to turn in a mail-in ballot under the belief that the mail-in votes wouldn’t count. 

In Arapahoe County, 860 people voted on the first day of early voting, which was Oct. 22. In 2008, 1,047 people voted early, Doty said. In Jefferson County, 725 people voted on the first day of early voting, which is normally the busiest.

 

Sticker shock

After it was discovered Oct. 23 that the “I Voted” stickers left a slight impression on some ballots, Doty said in a news release later the same day that the ballots had been tested and the scanner counted the votes correctly. 

Election officials ran a test witnessed by officials from the secretary of state’s office and party officials. The votes were counted correctly.

ArapahoeCountyhas mailed some 245,000 mail ballots for the Nov. 6 general election so far, and anticipates 80 percent of the active registered voters will vote by mail. 

The county began including “I Voted” stickers after mail-in voters said they missed getting the sticker at polling sites. This is the first time the sticker has ever made an imprint on mail-in ballots. Stickers will no longer be sent, Doty said.

Concerned voters can exchange a damaged mail ballot for a new one at any Voter Assistance Center. 

For voting details, visit www.arapahoevotes.comor www.votejeffco.com

 

Contact Vicky Gits at vicky@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22. Follow her at Twitter.com/newsbyvicky.