Web Poll: Should Colorado implement all mail-in ballots for every election?
Massive turnout, voting machine breakdowns and misinformation forced some voters to wait up to five hours to do their civic duty in places like Virginia, Florida and Pennsylvania.
In Colorado, there were also a few Election Day voting problems.
But for two states, voting was an absolute breeze because of all mail-in voting.
Colorado lawmakers killed a bill last year that would have made us vote-by-mail for all elections.
Right now, we have a choice of mail-in ballots as well as using polling places.
Depending on who you talk to, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Voters waited up to three hours at one vote center at Centre Point Plaza in Aurora. “It’s like two hours or something,” says voter Gloria Brown.
“Approximately an hour-and-a-half to two hours,” says another voter Darryl Collins.
While some voters in Jefferson County were sent to other precincts because of a mix-up with a poll book among election judges.
“It makes me distrust the voting system in person. I definitely will do a mail-in ballot the next time,” says voter Josh Parsons.
They are problems some say could be avoided altogether, if we did what Oregon and Washington do: vote only by mail.
“It’s a simpler process and some believe more secure than polling places under the purview of election judges who do it once every two years,” says Republican Representative Carole Murray of Castle Rock.
Murray proposed House Bill 1131 that would have replaced traditional polling places with mandatory mail-only ballots.
“It’s confusing to some people that in an odd year election they automatically get their ballot [in the mail] and in an even year, during the general election, they don’t. To eliminate confusion with the voter, it seemed a good idea to do it one way or the other,” she says.
The Colorado County Clerks Association also says it would save up to $12 million in a general election year.
“I’m not really sure it’s ultimately cheaper,” says Secretary of State Scott Gessler.
The Republican says the cost is shifted to voters who pay for postage.
Although, Colorado voters can drop-off ballots.
He says there could also be a cost if there’s a problem with the mail.
Besides, he says people should have a choice.
“I think you saw it in Arapahoe county. There’s a lot of people who want to vote on Election Day. We saw people ask for mail-in ballots, who got them, regretted that choice and wanted to vote Election Day instead,” he says.
Supporters of mandatory mail ballots tout increased voter participation and that it gives voters a longer opportunity to study the ballot and truly be informed.
Opponents, though, say studies show when mandatory vote-by-mail is implemented, voting decreases by just over 13 percent. Gessler says the studies don’t say why that happens.
Legislators say don’t expect to see that bill resurrected next session.
“This one is not worth the brain damage, at this point,” chuckles Murray.