It’s a week after Election Day and they’re still counting votes in Colorado, where some are blaming a new state law that replaced polling booths with mandatory mail-in ballots. Top-ticket races have been decided—Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper was re-elected and Republican Cory Gardner unseated Democratic Sen. Mark Udall—but the vote totals in a dozen state House and Senate races remain unknown. Democrats currently have a 37-28 majority in the House and are expected to keep it. But they did lose the Senate, where the Republicans will hold an 18-17 edge after being in the minority for a decade. And although those outcomes are unlikely to change once all the votes are counted, there is frustration with the new process, especially among the grass-roots.
Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation, a watchdog group, told me that ballot integrity is a chief concern because the county clerks and election judges seem unqualified and overwhelmed by the new procedures. “The clerks say you can’t interrupt the process. But verification is part of the process,” said Ms. Marks, who has worked as a poll monitor and worries that not enough time is being allowed to verify signatures. “If we’re going to put expediency above everything else, we can’t have this all-mail process. Once you see these signatures in person, you begin to see that signature-verification is something of a joke. It’s happening so fast and in many counties and you have untrained people doing it.”
In the name of boosting voter turnout, Democrats used their majorities in the legislature to push through the all-mail measure in 2013. Mr. Hickenlooper signed it over the objections of Colorado’s Republican secretary of state, Scott Gessler, who warned that the law would “open the door to fraud and error along with creating huge administrative headaches.”