DENVER (KDVR) – Ballots will start going out in the mail on Oct. 9 in Colorado. Election officials are working overtime to prepare for what could be a record turnout, and they want to provide as many options as possible.
Denver’s Clerk and Recorder Paul Lopez said, “We do see a lot of excitement. There is a lot of anticipation in this election. Every election is important and requires your participation.”
He continued, “I am anticipating we will see a record turnout. I would like to see 100% participation Denver. Let’s do what we can to make sure every single person has access.”
Part of that access will be increasing the voting centers for in-person voting. Denver will have 36 in-person voting centers, including for the first time ever, Pepsi Center.
“We worked in partnership with Kroenke and the Nuggets and Avs to make sure Pepsi Center was available and they offered it up as a site. We worked with the secretary of state too,” Lopez said.
But he says the set-up will be in the lobby and will look much like the other voting centers.
“You’re not going to be able to go in to the court, run around the concourses or play on the ice or anything like that. The thing about the Pepsi Center, there’s a lot of parking, centrally located, you can drive up and hand folks your ballot,” Lopez said.
Denver will have 10 more voting centers than in 2016 and six more than in 2018.
“What makes us a very good model here in Denver, we involve the public in a lot of decision making. Where we locate boxes, where we need boxes, where vote centers need to be or where they need to change,” Lopez said.
Denver will have 38 drop boxes located throughout the city where ballots can be dropped off 24/7 starting on Oct. 9.
Lopez said, “It’s safe, secure and transparent.”
They also announced several Denver Public Schools will serve as voting centers, but election officials are encouraging people not to go inside unless you need to.
“We are in a pandemic and asking people to use our pandemic-proof model of voting: that mail-in ballot. I like to say we were socially distancing before it was cool,” Lopez said.
The full list of vote center locations and drop boxes can be found online or in the ballot packets voters will receive in the mail after Oct. 9.
We checked with clerk and recorders in several other parts of the metro area; here is what they told us:
Douglas County has expanded our number of ballot drop boxes from nine 24/7 and one business-hours drop box in the 2018 General Election, to twenty 24/7 drop boxes for the 2020 General Election. There is now a ballot drop box located within 3 miles of 90% of our county’s population! Historically in Douglas County, only about 5% of ballots are voted in a VSPC in a Presidential Election, and in other elections, fewer than 1% of ballots are typically cast in VSPCs. An estimated 86% of ballots come back in our ballot drop boxes so it was important that we make this preferred option as convenient as possible for our citizens.
The location of our main Highlands Ranch Voter Service and Polling Center (VSPC) that is open for all three phases of voting is new: Northridge Recreation Center, 8800 S. Broadway, Highlands Ranch, 80126. (The former location was the Highlands Ranch Sheriff Substation located nearby.) We will be doing enhanced road and building signage throughout the election cycle, as well as in-person customer liaison support on Election Day, to ensure this change is clear to voters. While the majority of our Phase 2 and Phase 3 VSPC locations are not new, we only statutorily operate this number of VSPCs in General Election years, so our office also does extensive community outreach via promotion of our website DouglasVotes.com to publicize these locations and hours to our community.
We have more than doubled the number of ballot drop boxes from 15 to 34 and we’ve also increased in-person vote centers from 25 to 32.
Beyond that, we are heavily pushing voters to register/make sure their registration is up to date right now so that they can receive a mail ballot once we begin sending them out next Friday, Oct. 9 – that way, they can stay healthy and return their ballot to us by drop box (some of our drop boxes don’t even require you to get out of the car!) or using the mail and thus avoid coming into an in-person vote center altogether.
That said, for those voters who need extra assistance, a replacement ballot or same-day registration, we’ve been careful to ensure that each of our in-person vote sites allows for social distancing and is outfitted with PPE, plexiglass and hand sanitizer. This is also the first general election we are using a mobile vote center – a trailer we retrofitted from Jeffco Open Space that allows people to vote outside.
In Arapahoe County, we’ve been planning since the day after the June 30 Primary Election to ensure voters have a range of safe options for the General Election:
Eleven (11) Phase 1 VSPCs will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning on Oct. 19. We are also providing curbside replacement ballot pickup appointment services at five locations across the County from Oct. 19 through Election Day for voters who feel safer remaining in their vehicle than coming inside a VSPC.
Eighteen (18) more Phase 2 VSPCs open on Oct. 30 and will be open for the first time all day on Saturday, Oct. 31. This brings Arapahoe County to the legal requirement of 29 VSPCs to be open by Election Day (Nov. 3). The law only requires 18 VSPCs open for early voting on Oct. 30 and 31, but we will open all 29 to give voters better access and convenience.
We also added seven (7) new 24-hour ballot drop boxes this year for a total of 33 county-wide, a proven, safe and popular option for Arapahoe County voters to cast their votes. Over 98% of Arapahoe County Voters chose to return their ballots by US mail or ballot drop boxes in the two Primary Elections earlier this year. Colorado election law requires the County to operate a minimum of 32 ballot boxes.
Voters can find all this information and more at arapahoevotes.com or by calling 303-795-4511.