We have same day voter registration in Colorado, right up through Nov. 3.

Everyone who shows up at a polling station will be allowed to vote a ballot, period. No one is turned away.

Those are just two of the many reasons to feel lucky living in Colorado. Yes, we’re grateful for the inclusive nature of our voting system here. Secretaries of State, of both major parties, have worked over the years to ensure access to the vote for all Coloradans. We’ve had a mail-in voting system for over ten years, so we’re not inconvenienced by the special nature of this year’s national “Covid” election.

If you’ve received your mail-in ballot, you’ve probably already voted. If not, please turn it in to one of the drop boxes located at the polling stations: Fairplay: County Offices; Bailey: Downtown Sheriff’s Substation, and the Fire Station at the top of Crow Hill. It’s too late to trust the mails for delivery. Your ballot must be received by 7 p.m. Nov. 3, so drop it at a polling station drop box.

If you do not have a ballot, if you prefer to vote in person, or if you’re not registered to vote yet, go to one of the official polling stations: the Fairplay County Office Building only before Election Day. On Election Day: the Fairplay Offices and the two Bailey locations will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Anyone in line by 7 p.m. on November 3 will be allowed to cast a ballot.

You can register to vote andvote on the same day. Please bring a form of identification. And if you show up at a polling station, you will not be turned away; you will vote. If your eligibility is unclear, you may vote a Provisional Ballot. The County Clerk reviews all ballots and includes the legitimate ballots in the final count.

I spent six hours last week, side by side with an election judge of a different political party, validating signatures on ballots already received in Fairplay. The amazing Elegis machine scans the ballot envelope signatures and voter ID, then puts the scan on screen with another recent signature from the voter’s County file. The judges compare the signatures. We are not looking for an exact signature match and the use of middle initials, shortened names or dropped suffixes do not disqualify ballots, as has been seen in other states. We are looking for evidence that the signature belongs to the same person who signed a ballot in a previous election. If we see the match, the ballot is submitted, another machine opens the envelope, two Judges remove the ballot from its envelope and privacy shield, and another judge feeds the ballot into the tabulating machine.

The County Clerk has several wonderful machines, and it is hard to imagine the amount of work for judges in other states that are not set up for a mail-in system. Other states have had over five months to put a mail-in system together, and some have. The other states may take quite a while to certify their election counts next week.

Back to the Park County Clerk’s office: If the signatures on the ballot envelope don’t match the most recent signature on the voter’s County file, other signatures can be brought up and compared. In a six-hour shift examining hundreds of ballot envelopes last week, only four signatures could not be validated. If the signature discrepancy cannot be resolved, the unopened ballot is put in a special envelope for the County Clerk. She will send a letter to the voter requesting an official signature. The voter has eight days to resolve the signature issue. It’s amazing: all the judges and county employees work to qualify as many ballots as possible, and voters have a chance to resolve problems. This process requires a lot of focused attention.

So I am truly disturbed when I hear influential people questioning the security or legitimacy of our voter mail-in ballot system. We must have trust in our election and county officials.

We work hard to deliver an honest and legitimate vote count. We want all eligible Coloradans to vote freely, and easily. I only wish the rest of our country could have it as good as we do, voting-wise at least. Make your voice heard. Vote by Nov. 3.

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