Elections in the age of COVID-19

Sec. of State makes rule changes ahead of primary
Colorado mail-in ballots
Posted at 9:27 PM, May 11, 2020

COLORADO — Coloradans will be receiving ballots in the mail in a matter of weeks ahead of the June 30th primary.

If it seems like you just voted in a primary election, it's because in March Coloradans voted in the presidential primary- this election will be for congressional, state, and other races such as District Attorney.

With concerns of the pandemic still at the forefront of many Coloradans lives, Secretary of State Jena Griswold has added some temporary rules for the June primary to add some extra precautions when it comes to COVID-19.

"We want to make sure no Coloradan has to choose between voting and their health," Griswold said, "these rules really just add a degree of confidence so that voters know that they will be voting as safely as possible."

Among the rules, election workers throughout the state will need to wear masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). Griswold says they will need to be in accordance with the county they're in.

For those who prefer in-person voting, it will still be an option for voters, but the voting station will be sanitized and disinfected after each use.

Another added benefit for election judges come June is the option to take paid sick leave- Griswold says this is being covered through federal money given through the stimulus package for elections happening during the pandemic. According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission,Colorado was awarded a $6.6 million grant to help with running federal elections during COVID-19.

"Part of that [the rules] includes making sure that people running the elections can be in the situation to make the right choices," Griswold said.

In addition to the rule changes ahead of June's primary, Colorado is also getting national attention when it comes to running elections. As many Coloradans vote by-mail or by dropping off their ballot at drop box, the state tends to have one of the highest voter turnouts in the nation. It's a practice that already lends itself toward social distancing as well.

With mail-in ballots getting more attention, so is the topic of election security.

"I do think that we are going to see a significant reorientation towards mail in voting this coming election," Mattie Gullixson, Project Manager for the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) based in Colorado Springs said.

The NCC is looking closely right now at election technologies with concerns over public health and election security at the forefront of many discussions.

This month, the NCC wants voters to know the reality behind different voting systems.

Throughout May, the NCC is hosting webinars with various election leaders throughout the country to take a look emerging technologies and practices currently in place when it comes to running elections securely. Griswold is among the speakers for Tuesday's session.

The webinars will focus on three topics when it comes to elections including security with public health concerns, electronic voting technologies, and preventing misinformation when it comes to elections.

Gullixson adds Colorado is among the safest places to vote in the country. Former Secretary of State and current Colorado Springs city councilman Wayne Williams is credited with placing many safeguards in the system.

If you'd like to attend the webinars on election security click the following link: NCC Secure The Vote Webinar.

For the entire rule changes made by the Secretary of State's Office click here: Secretary of State's Office June Election Rules

RELATED:Former Secretary of State Weighs in on Mail-In Ballots

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