NewsCovering Colorado


Oops! Spoiled you're ballot? Here's how to fix it

Posted at 7:13 PM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 21:13:09-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Voting is already underway Colorado for the 2019 off-year election. Many voters received ballots in the mail over the weekend. Others may have to wait until Tuesday since Monday is a government holiday and there's no mail delivery.

If for some reason your ballot is damaged, it's still possible to make sure your vote is counted. El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman said spoiled ballots happened frequently during elections. In most cases, the easiest solution is to bring the damaged ballot to the local election office and either get a replacement or cast and early vote in person.

Broerman said he's even some ballots returned with drawings on them, dog bites and even one that had a handwritten grocery list.

"Have no fear if you did spoil your ballot by spilling coffee or your breakfast cereal, I've heard stories of people spilling jelly and other condiments on their ballots. So, it happens."

Broerman said the tabulation machines used in county election offices statewide are fairly sophisticated and can usually still process dirty ballots with an errant smudge or stain. If for some reason a ballot is rejected, a pair of election judges will work to make sure the votes are still counted.

"We have a team of people, a bi-partisan team, and if machine can't read it, there's a process whereby they can recover that vote or make sure that vote is counted."

A more frequent mistake occurs when a voter who fills the wrong choice on the ballot. Broerman said the best course action is to simply draw a line through the selection you don't want and then circle or write a short note next to the preferred candidate or issue.

It should be easier than ever to return your completed ballot. The county opened 10 new ballot drop off locations this year, and Broerman said they're planning to open another nine new drop off boxes by the 2020 presidential election.