Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced Monday in a press release that voters in all 64 counties will be able to track the status of their individual mail ballots for the 2020 General Election through BallotTrax, a ballot tracking system. Voters will be able to receive notifications by phone, email, or text about the status of their mail ballots, from the time their County Clerk and Recorder mails the outgoing ballot packet, to when their completed ballot is received and accepted for counting.
“I’m happy to announce that for the first time, every Colorado voter will have access to ballot tracking, to be able to see when ballots are sent to when they are processed,” said Secretary Griswold. “This new program is one of the many ways that Colorado continually innovates to ensure our elections are the best in the nation.”
The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is offering the BallotTrax ballot tracking and messaging system to all counties with Las Animas opting in earlier this year. Chief Deputy Clerk Joseph Mestas said it has come with high praise from users locally.
“I’m excited to see the whole state get a version of Ballottrax,” said Mestas. “It is a great tool for voters to be able to track their ballots. Las Animas County has had Ballottrax for the last few elections. I’ve had only positive comments about it from voters here in the county that have used it.”
Las Animas voters already signed up with the service won’t notice any changes to the content, format, or timing of the ballot status messages they receive explained Griswold’s press release. The effect of the Secretary of State’s initiative makes the BallotTrax system available to voters in the other 51 counties that never before had access to ballot tracking.
Beginning September 14, voters in counties that are adding ballot tracking will receive a notification that they have been enrolled in the service if their registration record contains an email address. Those who don’t receive an auto-enrollment notification can sign up themselves at lasanimasvotes.com.
“We only have a small percentage of less than 1 percent of voters signed up at this point; however, we are hopeful more people will take advantage of it,” said Mestas.
Voters can opt out of BallotTrax at any time. Voters in counties with preexisting ballot tracking capabilities, will not need to re-enroll and will be able to continue to have their ballots tracked without interruption.
As a reminder, Mestas said the tracking system was different from registration or updates on elections. For that information, visit www.GoVoteColorado.gov.
Secretary of State’s Office, USPS at odds over mailer
On Saturday, September 12, Griswold issued a statement regarding a lawsuit that was filed against the United States Postal Service for mailing out election info that could mislead Colorado voters, primarily as a reminder that ballots are sent out without having to make a request if registered and should be turned in as soon as possible after receiving them.
“On Thursday my office received notice that the United States Postal Service would be sending out a national pre-election mailer to every household in America that contains incorrect election information for Colorado,” said Griswold. “The mailer incorrectly asks that voters request a mail ballot 15 days before the election and return their ballots by mail at least seven days before the election. In Colorado, every registered voter is sent a ballot without having to make a request and voters are urged to return ballots by mail sooner than seven days before the election. My office asked USPS officials to delay or not send the mailer in Colorado, but they refused to commit to that.”
Recently, Mestas stated they are still on schedule to send out ballots via mail to registered voters on October 9. Griswold explained that the current state of everything was difficult enough without potential misinformation going out to voters.
“The importance of this election, combined with the fact it is being held amidst a national pandemic, further heightens the need to provide correct voting information to Coloradans,” said Griswold. “That is why I am filing a lawsuit against the USPS to cease this mailer and help shield Colorado voters from this misinformation. As the Chief Election Official of the state of Colorado, it’s my job to try to stop misinformation and any unnecessary election confusion.”