This campaign season, Colorado’s new mail-ballot voter law has drawn the national sideshow attention of cable news and opinion, AM radio and even a sting by conservative provocateur James O’Keefe — all focused on the notion that Tuesday’s outcome could be tainted. But perception hasn’t been reality, according to election officials on both sides of the deep political divide who report only a routine percentage of challenged signatures, undeliverable ballots and reports of alleged shenanigans. Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner said the lack of actual trouble is largely because voting by mail is nothing new. It’s been an option for Colorado voters since 1992. And in the 2012 general election, 73 percent of Coloradans cast mail ballots. “What’s different is we have a party that’s made allegations of fraud part of its platform,” Reiner, a Republican who is president of the Colorado County Clerks Association, said of some members of her party.
Before Democrats in the legislature passed the new law in 2013, GOP leaders said sending ballots to every registered voter, including those who didn’t vote in the previous even-year general election, would be an invitation to fraud; the logic being mainly that people could find and use discarded or misdelivered ballots.
But clerks note that each ballot is screened to make sure the signatures match voter registration records. And so far the numbers of signatures that have been flagged by election judges as incorrect matches are roughly the same as they were in the 2012 general election in El Paso, Denver, Mesa and Pueblo counties checked by The Denver Post on Friday.