from Grand County Clerk & Recorder Sara Rosene
I remember many years ago how excited I was to vote for the first time at a polling center one block from my home in Des Moines, Iowa. Since then, I have had the fortunate opportunity to see that same excitement in many first‐time voters in Colorado elections, whether they were new U.S. citizens or newly registered voters.
Of utmost importance to me as your Clerk & Recorder is ensuring the proper registration of every citizen who is qualified to register to vote. Performing that responsibility requires us to use the many resources provided to County Election Officials to keep up with our ever‐ changing population and updating voter registrations as people move in and out of the county.
For years, Colorado has been part of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). ERIC is a public charity non‐ profit membership organization comprised of 33 states and the District of Columbia. ERIC is an essential tool for Colorado’s list maintenance, it is how we get many of our death records, it is how we receive the National Change of Address (NCOA) updates, it is how we know if a voter has moved to another state and it is how we identify voters who voted in two states. The ERIC website is www.ericstates.org.
In addition to ERIC, Colorado counties receive information from the Colorado Department of Revenue, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Corrections and the United States Postal Service based on changes citizen make in their lives that may affect their voter record. As election officials, we make every effort possible to understand the changes that voters are making, and correctly update the voter registration records.
All of these tools allow us to stay up‐to‐date with the registration records. When records are downloaded to us daily, they are processed within 24‐hours. If the change to the record requires correspondence to voters, that correspondence goes out quickly.
If a voter’s ballot or mail comes back undeliverable AND the voter and takes no action to update their record in response to our correspondence AND the voter does not vote in two general elections (which would require updating their record), counties must comply with Federal Law and cancel a voter’s registration.
While Clerks are provided these resources to update our records, we also rely on our citizens to take responsibility for their own information. There are many ways for voters to ensure that their records are current and accurate. Every voter can verify their own information at www.GoVoteColorado.gov. Also on that site, voters can update their physical address (to ensure they will receive the proper ballot), update their mailing address to ensure they will receive their ballot (which will be mailed on October 17, 2022 for the November 8, 2022 General Election), and update the “ballot address” in the record to have the ballot go to a different location (such as extended stays in warmer climates or visits with family). Voters who have moved out of state should cancel their registration at www.GoVoteColorado.gov so they are not registered in two states.
Once a voter has registered and/or updated their record, the County Election Department can use the information to mail the voter’s ballot. Voters will be notified when their ballot is mailed by enrolling in https://Grand.BallotTrax.net. Voters also will be notified when their ballot has been received by the County and then accepted for counting.
In order for a ballot to be accepted for counting, citizen Election Judges must review and accept the signature on the ballot envelope. A bipartisan team of citizen Election Judges receive training, and compare EVERY ballot envelope against the voter record. A voter’s record contains every signature that was provided to the County by way of ballot envelope, voter registration form, driver license record or any other document with a signature. The responsibility of signature verification is that of the local election official and the dedicated citizen Election Judges.
Local control and accountability is how elections are administered; the process allows and encourages citizen participation. To learn more about how ballots are counted, visit Grand County’s website. If you’d like to be a citizen Election Judge, please contact me at GrandElections@co.grand.co.us.