Colorado’s universal mail ballot system has boosted voter participation by 9 percent since it was introduced in 2013 and offers an easy, safe way to cast a vote from home during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Voters can still go to the polls on Nov. 3 if they choose, but the state automatically sends every citizen an absentee ballot and almost all Coloradans vote by mail.
- Other states are now looking to copy Colorado. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic, so it is even more important to be able to vote right from home,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D). “Our model shows that if you make voting accessible, people will participate.”
- The increase in turnout hasn’t favored any one major political party — the numbers of Democratic and Republican have increased equally.
Here's what else you need to know:
How do I register to vote?
Register online with a valid Colorado driver’s license or other state-issued identification. You can also download the registration form from the secretary of state's website and email, mail, or hand-deliver it to your county clerk and recorder. Or contact your clerk and recorder to get a paper form or pick one up from the office of a state agency. Colorado voters are automatically registered when they obtain a driver’s license at the Department of Motor Vehicles. You can check your registration status online.
How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?
Every registered Colorado voter will automatically receive a mail-in ballot at the address listed on your registration. Address changes must be made at least eight days before Election Day, which is Nov. 3. Ballots will be mailed out on Oct. 12. Complete and mail your ballot to your county clerk so that it arrives before 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. Not sure your ballot will arrive in time? Drop it off in person by that same deadline. Contact your county clerk and recorder for drop-off and drop-box locations.
How do I know my absentee ballot is secure?
Colorado’s mail ballot system is considered one of the most secure in the nation. Equipment used for in-person voting includes a voter-verified paper trail.
When is Election Day? When are polls open?
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Can I vote in person before Election Day?
You can vote early in person from Oct. 26 to Nov. 2 at vote centers. Locations for the centers and for ballot drop boxes are at GoVoteColorado.gov.
What form of identification do I need to vote?
Valid identification is required and includes a Colorado driver's license, U.S. passport, or a current utility bill or bank statement. Check the secretary of state's website for a full list of acceptable IDs.
What is being done to make polling places safe from the coronavirus?
Face coverings are required, social distancing will be enforced and voting equipment will be cleaned after each use.
Will I be able to vote in the same place as I always have?
Check GoVoteColorado.gov for voting locations. Mail ballots can be dropped off at county clerk and recorder offices and 24-hour drop boxes.
What are the key races in my state?
- U.S. President
- U.S. Senate: Incumbent Cory Gardner (R) vs. John Hickenlooper (D)
- U.S. House: All 7 seats
Voting rules and procedures may change before Election Day. We’ll update this story if they do, so bookmark this and check back.
AARP is urging older Americans to ask the candidates 5 key questions:
- Just over half of all older Social Security beneficiaries rely on the program for at least 50 percent of their income. If elected, how will you ensure that current and future Social Security benefits are not cut as part of deficit reduction?
- Half of the people with traditional Medicare spend at least a sixth of their income on health care. If elected, how will you protect Medicare from benefit cuts, as well as lower health care costs and ensure seniors continue receiving the affordable health care they have earned?
- Unemployment during the coronavirus crisis reached the highest levels since the Great Depression, and older Americans have been affected disproportionately. If elected, how will you help Americans over the age of 50 recover economically from the effects of the coronavirus?
- Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. If elected, how will you cut prescription drug prices for all Americans?
- COVID-19 has caused death and suffering for too many older Americans who require long-term care. If elected, how will you make sure seniors can access safe and affordable long-term care at home, as well as in facilities like nursing homes and assisted living?
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