I was sworn in as Jefferson County’s Clerk and Recorder earlier this year, and our team has been working every day to expand dramatically the accessibility and transparency of our county’s …
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I was sworn in as Jefferson County’s Clerk and Recorder earlier this year, and our team has been working every day to expand dramatically the accessibility and transparency of our county’s elections. While most of the enhancements we are making will be finished before next year’s presidential primary in March, we have already made several improvements in time for this November’s election.
To make our elections more accessible, we have worked with the legislature to be able to substantially increase the number of locations where voters can turn in their ballots in Jefferson County. Three-fourths of Jeffco voters use a 24-hour drop box to vote – much more than use the mail or our in-person vote centers – so we are more than doubling the number of drop boxes ahead of the 2020 elections. There will be 18 new boxes in Jeffco next year (in addition to the 15 we have had in past years), and eight of those new boxes are already in place for this November.
In addition to drop boxes, we are also adding six additional in-person Voter Service and Polling Centers (VSPCs) for next November. Further, starting this November, we have expanded the hours that VSPCs are open to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. You can see a list of all 24-hour drop boxes and VSPC locations and hours in your ballot envelope – which will arrive next week – or on our website. Speaking of our website, we have overhauled it to make the important election information you need as accessible as possible. Please check it out: www.VoteJeffco.com.
To make our elections more transparent, we are inviting the public in to see and understand our process. Election integrity is a commonly-discussed issue right now, so we want to show and reassure our constituents that Colorado continues to lead the nation not just in election accessibility and turnout, but in fairness and security, too. To further this end, we now provide regular, public election tours. The next one is Monday, November 4, 2019 at 1 p.m. (the day before election day). Participants will get to observe during a live election how we receive ballots, how we verify that the people voting are who they say they are, how we count those ballots, and how we maintain strict security throughout. Learn more and RSVP by visiting www.VoteJeffco.com and clicking on “Election Information.”
To make things more transparent for those who are not able to attend a tour, we provide regular updates in OpEds like these, and on our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@JeffcoClerk). You are also welcome to call our office with any questions (303-271-8111), email us (Elections@VoteJeffco.com), text “Jeffco” to 28683 to get election information right on your phone, or click “Contact Us” on our website where you can also sign up for our email alerts. Finally, all voters can receive alerts on the status of their ballots. If you are interested in hearing by email, text, or phone when we mail your ballot, when we receive it back from you, and when we have counted it, sign up on our website by clicking on “Track Your Ballot.”
There are four important elections coming up in the next year: this year’s ballot initiatives and school board and municipal races on November 5, 2019; the presidential primary on March 3, 2020; the state primary on June 30, 2020; and the general election on November 3, 2020. All of these recent improvements are intended to increase accessibility and transparency ahead of these
important elections, so that more and more eligible voters find it easy to participate, and easy to know what happens when they do.
George Stern is the Jefferson County clerk and recorder. He lives in Golden where he also serves as a volunteer firefighter.
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