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New election law not causing big problems

October 23, 2013 Updated: October 23, 2013 at 9:55 pm
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With two weeks left until Election Day, election judges across the state are busy accepting ballots, verifying signatures, and getting them ready to be sent through counting machines.

Election law has changed significantly since the last statewide election, but officials say the process is running smoothly under the new law, House Bill 1303.

The biggest change is that now every voter in the state - active and inactive - receives a ballot in the mail whether it's requested or not.

Neighborhood precincts won't open on Election Day.

El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams said it's business as usual as his agency has processed mail ballots for years, the only question is the volume.

"So far the response rate has been well within the capacity to handle it," Williams said. "Things are going very smoothly."

Amber McReynolds, director of elections for Denver County, said the same as she led a tour of the rooms where thousands of mail ballots are being processed.

McReynolds explained how the new election law will work and scenarios for voters.

For example, McReynolds says a voter who miss-marks, destroys or otherwise invalidates a mail ballot can go to a voter service center and cast a ballot or go home with a replacement mail ballot.

She said her staff is trained to check the statewide database to see if that voter has already cast a ballot before they can cast a ballot in person.

Because mail ballots are scanned as they arrive at the center, the person processing a request for an in-person ballot would know almost immediately whether a mail ballot has been submitted.

McReynolds says the process works in reverse, too.

Williams, a vocal critic of the new election law, still has concerns, including the fact that almost 18,541 ballots mailed out have come back undeliverable.

"House Bill 1303 required us to send ballots to people who may not have voted in many years and the result of that is we are getting a higher proportion of those back," Williams said.

McReynolds said Denver County has seen a higher number of undeliverable ballots and they correspond almost exactly with the change of address data they receive from the U.S. Postal Service.

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Contact Megan Schrader

719-286-0644

Twitter: @CapitolSchrader

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