Last Friday, September 4, the Colorado Secretary of State’s (SoS) Office announced they had prepared and issued election rules and guidance for county clerks as well as other election stakeholders.

In it, they outlined suggested procedures for conducting the November 3 General Election during the COVID-19 national health crisis. Las Animas County Chief Deputy Clerk Joseph Mestas said the upcoming election would be very similar to the primaries back in June.

“We had a successful June Primary by following it [the state’s guidelines],” said Mestas. “Some examples include wearing masks, social distancing, sanitizing our work areas, and using hand sanitizer. We have enclosed our front counter area in the Elections Office and offer a tablet-based kiosk for voter registration on govotecolorado.gov and lasanimasvotes.com, our ballot tracking system.”

The state also provided financial and material support to the local County Clerk’s office to ensure they had adequate materials to handle voting as safely as possible.

“The Colorado Secretary of State’s offices provided the grants for the drop boxes and they also provide our elections division directly with PPE such as masks, sanitizer for hands and cleaning, and now for November they also are providing face shields,” Mestas said. “Safety measures along with PPE and drop boxes seem to be great combination for the public and election workers to stay safe.”

In a year where elections, especially by mail, have been surrounded with scrutiny from the Trump Administration, Secretary of State Jena Griswold said she wanted Coloradan’s to know they could fully count on having safe, unhindered elections.

“Colorado’s elections are the country’s gold standard,” said Griswold, “and the current health crisis does not change that. Based on the success of the June 30 State Primary, I’m happy to again announce rules and guidelines for conducting the General Election that are designed to make voting as safe as possible. No Coloradan should have to choose between their health and casting a ballot and these rules and guidelines help ensure that’s the case.”       

The rules and guidance are similar to those that were provided to counties for the June 30 State Primary, which saw record turnout and minimal wait times at Voter Service and Polling Centers (VSPC). Like in the previous election, the General Election rules and guidance provide additional details that counties can utilize to ensure elections are conducted as safely as possible.  

“For those voting in person, a series of detailed protocols lay out how VSPCs should be sanitized, organized, and maintained,” said the press release.

The guide also outlines suggested procedures for safely collecting ballots from drop-boxes, as well as creating the framework for alternative methods for issuing and collecting ballots, such as drive-through or curbside voting.

“As in June, poll workers will be required to wear masks and have their temperature taken before starting work,” said Griswold. “The Secretary of State’s Office will again be providing PPE for counties to utilize for both election judges and masks for voters who may need one. “

Locally, voters are strongly encouraged to vote a mail ballot and to make sure their registration information is up-to-date at GoVoteColorado.gov.  

Mestas has said their office, beginning on October 9, would mail ballots to every active registered voter. Ballots for overseas and military voters must be sent by September 19.       

For the Notice of Temporary Adoption for the Colorado Elections Rules (8 CCR 1505-1) includes new temporary Rule 25.2.7 concerning post-election audit and amended temporary Rule 27 regarding conducting elections during public health emergency, a statement of basis, and statement of justification.  

For an unofficial copy of the election rules as adopted and effective 9/4/2020, please visit the SoS website, sos.state.co.us.

If you have any questions concerning these rules please email Public.Elections@sos.state.co.us or sos.rulemaking@sos.state.co.us.

For more information on Las Animas County voting, please visit the county’s website or call the Clerk and Recorders office at 719-846-3314.

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