Voting Officials Work to Verify Ballots
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- As early voting begins and mail-in ballots continue to pour in, election officials are working to ensure each and every ballot is legitimate.
"The way that we make sure you've only returned one to us is when we check them in, we look up your voter record. The computer tells us whether or not we've received one back from you already. If we find that you have returned two ballots, we would investigate," said Sheila Reiner, Mesa County clerk and recorder.
Reiner says there are other methods to discern the validity of a ballot, such as comparing signatures.
"We also do signature verification to verify someone's signature on the backside of their ballot envelope to the last signature we have on file in their voter registration record. If that doesn't match we suspend the ballot," said Reiner.
Reiner said about 100 ballots every election are suspended due to the signature verification failing. When this occurs, elections officials will send out a letter to the ballot's recipient asking them to prove, using identification, that the ballot is theirs.
According to the Mesa County elections office, during the 2008 presidential election a total of 115 ballots failed signature verification.
Of those, 85 were eventually counted after their owners proved they had cast those ballots.
Colorado statutes say if someone knowingly commits voter fraud, they could face up to a $5,000 fine and/or 18 months in prison.
Reiner says she only knows of one Mesa County person prosecuted for voter fraud after they voted in two different states.