A primer on mail-in ballots | AspenTimes.com

A primer on mail-in ballots

A primer on mail-in ballots

Dear Editor:

On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the Pitkin County Election Department sent an initial mailing of approximately 2,600 mail-in ballots to registered voters who requested to vote by mail. These voters, and anyone requesting a mail-in ballot in the future, should ensure their ballots are accurately processed and counted by observing the following guidelines. These rules may seem trivial, but they are extremely important under Colorado election law.

A. First, follow the instructions at the top of the front side of the ballot:

• Completely fill in the ovals to the left of your choices with blue or black ink. If you do this, the optical scan equipment will always read your ballot accurately. Don’t use check marks or Xs, and don’t use red or another color of ink.

• To vote for a write-in candidate, a) completely fill in the oval with blue or black ink immediately above and to the left of the write-in line, and b) neatly print the first and last name of the write-in candidate on the write-in line in the space provided.

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• Vote both sides of your ballot. All ballot styles for voters who reside and are registered to vote in Pitkin County have two sides.

• If you mark your ballot incorrectly, call us (429-2713) or visit our office (530 E. Main St., Ste. 101, Aspen) and we’ll help you obtain a replacement ballot. Please don’t try to remedy marking errors by drawing arrows or making handwritten notes. The equipment is very good at determining whether ballot ovals at specific locations on the page are filled or empty; it is not designed to do anything else, and cannot interpret handwritten directions.

B. Second, follow the instructions enclosed in the envelope with your ballot:

• Fold your voted ballot along the original fold lines and place it in the security sleeve.

• Place the security sleeve inside the reply envelope. If your envelope is stamped “ID Required,” place a photocopy of your identification inside the reply envelope but not in the secrecy sleeve. Acceptable forms of identification are listed in the instruction sheet enclosed with your ballot.

• Sign and date the back of the reply envelope in the spaces provided, and seal the reply envelope. If your signature has changed recently due to age, infirmity, injury, or for any other reason, have a third person witness your signature.

• Affix sufficient postage to return your ballot by mail. First-class postage for returned ballots is estimated to be 61 cents, but please double check with your post office.

• Return your ballot in time. The Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder office must receive your ballot by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 2, 2010. Postmarks don’t count.

In this election, only registered voters who request a mail-in ballot will receive one. If you want to vote by mail, there is still time to do so. The deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot is Oct. 26 if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter, or Oct. 29 if the voter will pick-up the mail-in ballot from the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder office.

Go to http://www.pitkinvotes.org for all Pitkin County election information.

Dwight Shellman III, election manager

Janice K. Vos Caudill, chief election official, county clerk and recorder