Planning on voting in person? Keep these Colorado election rules in mind

Posted at 5:06 PM, Oct 30, 2020

DENVER — More than 2,279,000 Coloradans have returned their ballots for the November election as of Friday. The vast majority of those ballots have either been dropped off or mailed in.

“The purpose of polling places have evolved. It used to be the place where you went to vote today it has become a place where you go if you have a problem that’s the only reason to come to a polling place,” said Merlin Klotz, the Douglas County Clerk and Recorder.

However, with election day nearly here, some voters prefer to cast their ballots in person.

Here are a few frequently asked questions for those who still haven’t voted:

Can I wear a shirt, hat, pin or mask supporting a candidate or ballot issue to the polls?

No. According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office no candidate’s name or likeness is allowed to be on any of the clothing you wear into the polls. Clothing supporting particular ballot issues are also banned.

“No campaign things anything on the ballot anything for candidates nothing for parties or party affiliation it’s electioneering and it’s against the law,” said Joan Lopez, the Arapahoe County clerk and recorder.

However, there are some caveats to that rule. You can wear clothing that supports a political or social movement, an American or other flag, etc.

“You can have some things like a BLM or a MAGA hat. Ironically, it’s a very fine line between that,” said Klotz.

Can I show support for my candidate or campaign near the polls?

Yes, but with distance rules. Colorado law says you cannot campaign or solicit for signatures within 100 feet of a polling place or drop-box. That’s also the distance you need to be away in order to wear clothing supporting a particular candidate or ballot issue.

Do I need to bring an ID or proof of citizenship to vote?

If you plan on voting in person and need the county to print out your ballot, you will need to bring some form of identification to prove who you are and what district you live in.

“Whether it’s a utility bill or your driver’s license we need that identification to verify,” Klotz said.

However, you do not need to bring proof of citizenship since that was verified when you registered to vote.

Can I still vote if I’m still waiting in line after polls close on election night?

Yes. You need to be in line waiting by 7 p.m. Tuesday in order to be able to vote, however.

Do I have to bring my mail-in ballot to be able to vote in person?

No. You may bring the ballot that was mailed to you but it is not a requirement. Once you sign up to vote in person, the ballot that was mailed to you will be voided out.

If I already cast my ballot but changed my mind on a candidate or issue, can I just go vote in person?

No. That would be voting twice and is against election law.

What COVID-19 safety precautions are in place?

Employees are being screened before coming in and are wearing masks the entire time they are inside. In most counties, each voting booth is being sanitized between every use. Many are providing masks for voters who forgot them as well as hand sanitizer.

The voting booths are being spread out to encourage social distancing. Some counties are putting up plexiglass barriers as well. Temperatures are not being taken of people voting.

Do I have to wear a mask?

Colorado’s current executive order requires everyone to wear masks in indoor settings, unless you are exempted for a medical condition.

What if I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or was exposed to someone who has been infected?

You can still vote but election officials are strongly encouraging people to drop-off their ballot or have a family member do so for them or call ahead and use curbside voting services. Counties might also have some emergency ballot options if you call ahead.

Can I collect the ballots of my neighbors, family, coworkers or friends and drop them off all at once?

Yes, but with limits. An individual or person working for a political party or organization may turn in up to 10 ballots.

However, voters are encouraged to never give their ballot to someone they don’t know or don’t trust.

For more frequently asked questions click here or for a complete list of election rules click here.