Clerk and Recorder Matt Crane oversees elections in Arapahoe County . Photo courtesy of League of Women Voters
BY FREDA MIKLIN
Clerk and recorder Matt Crane, who oversees elections in Arapahoe County, spoke to the League of Women Voters of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties (LWV) at their general meeting Oct. 8 at the Las Brisas Mexican Restaurant in Greenwood Village, about the voting process we use.
Crane described Arapahoe as a “purple county in a purple state,” since voter registration in the county, where 38 percent are unaffiliated, 33 percent are registered Democrats, and 27 percent are registered Republicans, closely mirrors affiliation statistics statewide. Overall, 37 percent of registered voters in Colorado are unaffiliated, 31 percent identify themselves as Democrats, and 30 percent are Republicans.
Over the past four years, new and changed voter registrations in Arapahoe County followed a similar, but more striking pattern. As the total number of registered voters increased 11 percent from 315,618 to 348,869, the number of those not affiliated with either major party increased a whopping 22 percent, compared to an increase of 12 percent in the number of voters who chose to affiliated with the Democrats and a decrease of 3 percent in the number who cast their lot with the Republicans.
On the question of voter fraud, Crane said that the data does not support its existence anywhere in the United States, including Colorado. He said a pilot program in 2016 found 50 potential people who may have voted in more than one state. When those individuals’ voting records were examined closely, the actual number of voters who were found to have cast ballots in Colorado and another state was less than 10 out of 3.2 million.
On Oct. 15, 3.2 million ballots were dropped off at the general mail facility in downtown Denver. They are being delivered statewide in waves this week. Most Arapahoe County voters will drop off their ballots at one of the 40 ballot box locations located all-around the county, 26 of which are accessible 24 hours a day.
Then on Oct. 22, in-person polling places will open in 12 locations in Arapahoe County. These voter centers will be available six days per week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays through Nov. 3. At that point, 16 more in-person polling places will open for the last few days of the election. On Monday, Nov. 5 and Tuesday, Nov. 6, Election Day, all in-person polling places in Arapahoe County will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters using in-person voting centers need to have an acceptable form of identification. Those are listed on the secretary of state’s website.
Voters can also mail their ballots. Crane said they will require 71 cents postage, but the U.S. Postal Service requires they be mailed by Oct. 30 to guarantee arrival in time to be counted in the election. If a voter happens to be outside of Arapahoe County, ballots can also be dropped in official ballot boxes in other Colorado counties. The state’s clerks have arranged to deliver each others ballots to the applicable county clerk.
Crane told LWV members about a cutting-edge process now being installed in Colorado. By July 2019, Colorado’s voter registration system will be seamlessly interfaced with its driver’s license system. As long as your driver’s license information is on your voter registration file, any change in your address on your driver’s license will automatically update your voter’s registration record.
Though Colorado has been recognized by many around the country as having the safest voting system possible, Crane said there is no doubt that Russians attempted to hack our election in 2016 and there is every reason to believe those efforts continue. On May 10, The Washington Post wrote, “As local officials across the country scramble to hack-proof their voting systems ahead of the midterm elections, there’s one state that is paving the way as a leader in election security. Colorado has done virtually everything election experts recommend states do to stave off a repeat of 2016.” A recent national newscast identified Illinois and Georgia as states which were successfully hacked by Russians during the 2016 election.
On a happier note, Coloradans generally and Arapahoe County residents take full advantage of their right and obligation as Americans to participate in elections, as long as they believe them to be significant. Turnout in Arapahoe County in 2008, when President Obama was first elected, was a whopping 95 percent. When Obama was re-elected in 2012, the turnout in Arapahoe County was still a healthy 93 percent. That number decreased to 84 percent in 2016, due to the high negatives of both major party candidates. In the last mid-term national election, 2014, turnout was a respectable 64 percent, though less than the 74 percent in the prior mid-term election held during Obama’s first term in 2010.
In stark contrast to those numbers, Crane told the audience that only 23 percent of eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot in the 2017 municipal elections in Arapahoe County, a number that might give pause to some city councilors around the county who believe they received a mandate in last year’s elections.
Crane closed by sharing that Arapahoe County gets monthly data on deceased persons, immigrants and convicted felons, with which it updates voting records. In Colorado, those convicted of misdemeanor offenses can vote without interruption. Felons can re-register to vote after they have completed their sentences and probation.
2018 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |