We are Molly Fitzpatrick, the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder and Ricky Hatch, the Weber County Clerk and Auditor. As part of National Voter Education Week, today is #MailReady day, and we want to make sure every voter understands their options to vote early by mail! Learn how you can vote early this year, from becoming #MailReady to voting early in person. Local election officials are here to help. Ask Us Anything.

Voting early is an important way to make sure nothing, from last-minute changes or a long commute, will keep you from casting your ballot and making your voice heard. And, bonus, it shortens Election Day lines and helps keep people safe. Voting early rules vary widely all over the country, and we want to make sure you have all the answers you need to get #VoteReady.

We’ll be answering all your questions about how to #VoteEarly, starting at 1 PM EST / 11 AM MT

Molly Fitzpatrick was elected as Boulder County Clerk and Recorder in 2018. Before being elected, Molly was the Organizing Director with New Era Colorado, where she managed statewide programs to register thousands of young voters in Colorado, helped voters navigate our elections process, and supported the policies and administrative reforms to make democracy more accessible. She has also worked with county clerks across the state and the state legislature to improve voter access and voter education initiatives – including voter preregistration for 16- and 17-year olds and election modernization in 2013.

Ricky is the County Clerk/Auditor for Weber County, Utah, population 265,000. He is a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC) and chairs its Communications Working Group. He serves on the Board of Advisors for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and Chair of the Elections Subcommittee of the National Association of Counties. He testified before Congress on election cybersecurity in 2017.

Look up the options to vote early in your state here

Request your mail in ballot and/or make your plan to vote here

Learn more about Vote Early Day on our website: https://www.voteearlyday.org/

Proof:

UPDATE: Thanks so much for your questions. While the official AMA was scheduled to end at 2PM - Molly & Ricky will continue to answer questions throughout the day! Be sure to visit www.voteearlyday.org to find the options to vote early in your state.

UPDATE: That's all the time we have for today's AMA! Thank you to everyone who asked questions and participated.

Comments: 357 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

LifeRips2020120 karma

What happens if a mail in ballot gets stolen? My girlfriend got a notification that her ballot had arrived in the mail but it wasn’t there and she’s worried that it was stolen

voteearlyday63 karma

When voting by mail, the controls that you normally see with in-person voting are different. Although processes vary by state, with in person voting, you have two controls: 1-the person provides ID (in most states), and 2-the person signs a poll book (these signatures generally are not analyzed or compared). The biggest control is the ID, as that is how the voter proves they are who they say they are. With absentee voting, the controls happen at two different times, rather than when the voter is standing at the check in line: at registration and when the ballot is returned. ID is verified differently, depending on the state. Some states require voters to send ID with their ballot. Some states require witnesses or even a notary to sign. And others (including Utah), verify the voter’s ID with the Social Security Administration and/or the state driver license division. Most states have to comply with the REAL ID act, which has strict requirements to get a state driver license or ID. Election officials can piggy back off those controls to help verify identity.

But the biggest control for most jurisdictions is comparing the voter signature on the return envelope to the signature(s) that we have on file for the voter. Signatures are imprints of the mind, not so much the hand. They’re unique to the voter, and require quite a bit of skill and practice to forge well enough to get past trained eyes or signature verification software.

I say all of this because if someone steals your ballot, they’re also going to need to forge your signature well enough to pass our review. In the meantime, you can always call your local election administrator and request a replacement ballot. In most instances they can spoil your stolen ballot, so even if the person forges your signature perfectly, the system will identify that ballot as spoiled, and will reject it.

-Ricky

iojoi8014 karma

Be sure to sign your name as it appears on your registration card. Don't just scribble it, over 100000 ballots were thrown out in the 2016 election because the person signed their name differently than their voters id card. Everyone has different variations of their own signature, but we can't leave this to chance. 100000 votes is alot

turtlelabia9 karma

It’s this kind of important information that I feel like most people have no clue about (I didn’t) that worries me about absentee ballots. I’m sure this information is provided in some kind of literature with the ballot (I hope), but not everyone is going to take the time to read it. With the issues I’ve been seeing lately, it seems very likely there will be plenty of ballots thrown out due to people either not knowing all the information (like this signature example) or not taking the time to read all the information and directions before just filling it out and sticking it in the mail.

voteearlyday10 karma

Yes - make sure you read all of the information!

For ballots that are "rejected," because of scribbled/missing signatures, please know that we will contact the voter and give them a chance to "cure" or remedy the situation, so their vote will be counted. Unfortunately, many people end up not fixing it, for whatever reason. We try to make that cure process as convenient as possible, while ensuring it has the proper controls.

-Ricky

-ChadZilla-6 karma

Is there a way to see what my signature looks like in registration data? Where would I go to find that?

voteearlyday8 karma

You'll probably want to ask your local election official - this functionality varies by system. Many systems hold more than one signature per voter. If you have concerns that your signature on file might be different than your current signature, ask them how you can update it. It may very well require going through the registration process again.

Regardless, rest assured that if your signature does not match, you'll be notified and given a chance to make things right and have your vote counted. And, in these cases, your election official will most likely update your signature so you don't have this problem in future elections.

-Ricky

WhatMixedFeelings2 karma

What schmuck gets to determine whether or not my signature “matches” what’s on file? What if the person reviewing my ballot doesn’t like how I voted?

voteearlyday1 karma

Hey there - bipartisan judges review your signature (they are trained by handwriting experts in the sheriff's office here in Boulder County & trained with Secretary of State guidelines/standards) and compare it based on how you signed your voter registration form. The only image they see is your signature, and at this point, the ballot has not been removed from the envelope. Once the signature verification process is complete the ballot in the ballot envelope is moved to a different stage where the ballot is removed from its envelope. We have machines here in Boulder County that allow us to do this in a way where you can never see the name associated with the ballot. Hope that helps!

Molly

itsmehellooo-5 karma

What happens when the person verifying the ballots is corrupt? Nobody asked for my signature so how do they even get the signature to compare? Clearly this opens the doors WIDE to fraud. I will be voting Trump 2020 at the polls where I know it won't be stollen :)

voteearlyday6 karma

Hey there - in response to your corruption question: we hire bipartisan (Rep/Dem) election judges who are criminally background checked. These are the teams of people, for example, who travel together in the same vehicle to collect the ballots from the 24-hour dropboxes. The judges arrive to the dropbox, put the ballots in a bin, seal the bin with a tamper-evident seal and the seal is electronically documented so we can see it move throughout the process. Also, our ballot processing center is under video surveillance 24/7 during election time.

Regarding your signature: it's compared to the signature you used when you signed your voter registration form.

-Molly (edited to add my name)

Chtorrr15 karma

What would you most like to tell us that isn't being discussed enough?

voteearlyday22 karma

A hot topic in the news right now is cybersecurity, and October is actually National Cybersecurity Awareness month! Since 2016, there has been an influx of national attention dedicated to improving our nation’s cybersecurity posture. This includes public + private partnerships and many states have implemented a lot of initiatives that shore up our nation’s cybersecurity culture, including staff training/development, penetration testing, tabletop exercises & more. Boulder County just released a report that showcases some of this work in CO: http://www.boco.org/ElectionSecurityReport. And I know from conversation with my fellow clerks and colleagues across the country, many other jurisdictions have taken similar measures.

-Molly

TipAdditional565713 karma

For either Molly or Ricky - I requested my mail in ballot and received it this week. When should I send it back?

voteearlyday15 karma

I'd recommend sending it back as soon as possible. Some states require that you return your ballot via the US Postal Service. In those states, give yourself at least 10 days for it to get back (just to be sure). Many states require that your ballot be received by the clerk's office by close of polls on election day, so it's best to be early than to risk missing the deadline. Other states go off of the postmark, so as long as your ballot envelope is postmarked before the state deadline, and the clerk receives the ballot by a state-declared deadline, your ballot will be counted.

-Ricky

GGJallDAY12 karma

Is fraud something we should actually be concerned about with mail in voting? Why or why not? Which is the most secure method of absentee voting?

voteearlyday25 karma

We should always be on the lookout for fraud in every election and regardless of whether we’re voting by mail, absentee, early, or in person on election day. As Americans, we naturally have a healthy skepticism of government. Lots of transparency and sunshine is a good thing, and it helps build confidence in the elections process. Having said that, proven, documented voter fraud has been pretty rare. Studies nationwide have repeatedly shown virtually no election fraud occurring. Here's a good resource on fraud: https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud. When election fraud does occur, it is much more likely to be voter registration fraud (People registering at an address that they don't live at, not updating their address and still voting, etc.) rather than voting fraud. Every election method (voting absentee, in-person, paper, machines, online, etc.) has it’s advantages, drawbacks, and exposures. Your election officials are very aware of the exposures, and build in additional controls to help minimize (and eliminate, if possible) the risks. For example, Utah mails ballots only to active voters. However, mailing an extra ballot to a vote doesn't pose extra risk, because our system allows for only one returned ballot per voter to be counted. I could mail you ten ballots, and you could return them all, plus try to vote in person. Our system would only allow the first ballot in - the rest, including your in-person attempt, would be rejected. Each envelope has a number that is unique to that voter and that specific ballot, and it not known outside the election system. If a voter requests another ballot, we spoil the number of the first ballot, and even if they tried to return it, our system would flag it as spoiled. I’m guessing almost every other state has similar controls in place. The most secure method of absentee voting is to directly give your ballot with your local election officials. If you can do that in person, great. If not, drop boxes are secure and are picked up directly by election workers. However, some states do not have, or are not allowed, to provide drop boxes. The U.S. Postal Service has always given preference to official election mail, but I’m guessing that this year, they will be extra keen to do a good job. They have extensive controls and sophisticated processes to handle billions of mail pieces every day, and they do a great job. Of course, any time you’re dealing with that high of a volume, there will be problems. That’s a guarantee. However, those problems tend to be isolated rather than systemic. Still, those exact problems are the ones that make for splashy, sexy headlines. So be a little skeptical when you hear of stories of “massive failure” by the USPS and/or election officials. Check into the facts a little more, because there is almost always additional information that helps complete the picture.

-Ricky

ChronicTravii4 karma

Voter registration fraud is still a large problem though, as i recieved ballots at my house that i di not request, including one for the people who lived there before me... i did not request because i plan to vote in person, but whats stopping me from sending these ballots as well as going in person

voteearlyday16 karma

What is stopping you or anyone else from returning ballots that aren’t yours is 1) it is a felony and 2) you would need to know how replicate this voter’s signature well enough to get it past election judges that are trained by handwriting experts and state guidelines and 3) you would need to know that that voter would not attempt to update their registration in the meantime and be notified that there ballot had been returned (in which case they would tell the elections office that it was not them who cast the ballot). Mail ballot fraud is extremely rare.

-Molly

GGJallDAY2 karma

Thanks for the detailed reply. What's to stop these election officials who pick up the ballots from throwing out ballots? This seems like it could be a risk in states that heavily lean in one political direction to prevent change in their state.

voteearlyday11 karma

We have various control points in the retrieval of voted ballots. They are always handled by at least two people - never just one. There are reconciliation sheets that show how many ballots are picked up, and those sheets are initialed by everyone who touches those ballots. We count and recount the ballots to make sure none disappear and no new ballots are introduced. Even if I wanted to mess around with ballots, the physical controls and my staff would prevent me from being able to do so. Now, some tiny jurisdictions may only have one person administering the election. I'm sure they have help, and that they implement controls as best they can to ensure the integrity of the election. This risk is present whether it is a mailed ballot or voted on a machine in person.

ProbablyMyRealName1 karma

I’m in Utah. Can I get my mail-in ballot, fill it out at home, then take it to my polling place and hand it directly to the official? Will that be counted as an in-person vote, or a mail in vote? Is there any difference between my mailed ballot and the one I would receive at the polling place? I’ve voted by mail the last several times, but am concerned this year that mail in votes could be eventually thrown out after a court battle. I want my vote to be counted as “in-person”.

voteearlyday3 karma

Hi RealName,

You certainly can hand it directly to an election worker. Better to do it before election day, so you can avoid the lines. How it will be counted depends on your county. In Weber, it would still be counted as "by mail," because it will be put in a drop box.

There is no difference between the ballot you receive in the mail and the one you get at the polling location (unless you live in Salt Lake County - I believe they are still doing in-person voting on machines).

Utah has been voting by mail for years, so the chance of a "by-mail" ballot getting thrown out by a court is so remote, I don't think you need to worry. The courts nationwide tend to lean towards counting votes rather than not counting them.

Shedding8 karma

Can I still vote in person on November 3rd? And how do I know my vote was really counted?

voteearlyday3 karma

You should be able to vote on November 3rd in any state. Check with your local election official for when and where. Warning: be prepared to stand in a long line! You might want to check to see if you can vote early - many states offer that, and the lines will be much shorter.

-Ricky

Chtorrr7 karma

What is a common point of confusion you'd like to clear up about early voting?

voteearlyday16 karma

Early voting is subject to the same level of controls as voting on election day. There's no additional risk to early voting, and your ballot will be treated the same way a ballot is treated when cast on election day. If you want to avoid lines on election day (and there will be a LOT of long lines across the country), vote early!

Additionally, votes that are cast early are NOT tabulated until election day. Your local election official does not look at any results until polls are closed - we want to avoid any possibility that we could be influenced by knowing the results while the polls are still open. Honestly, most election officials are so intensely focused on getting the election done correctly, that the results are not that important to us on election night.

-Ricky

Shera9396 karma

When ballots are rejected is the voter informed so they can rectify?

voteearlyday6 karma

Yes, the voter is informed and given a chance to rectify. This is often called “curing” the ballot. States will have different deadlines and required processes for this. In Utah, we must notify the voter within 1 business day of identifying the issue, and the voter has at least a week to “cure” the problem. Often they can cure it via email or fax (yes, those still exist), and not even need to come in person. One note of warning: in most states, the list of voters who need to cure their ballot is public record, and parties/campaigns LOVE to take the list, identify their likely supporters, and contact them. While this is smart campaigning, it can lead to confusion when a voter, who may have already cured their ballot, gets a call from a campaign (using an old list), encouraging them to cure their ballot. If that happens to you, don’t hesitate to check the status of your ballot with your local and/or state elections office – many states allow you to check the status online, and some even will text you when the status changes.

-Ricky

aarontbarksdale5 karma

When is the last time you purged the voter rolls?

voteearlyday6 karma

List maintenance is a critical activity for election administrators and each state has different laws and practices. It’s vital to have strong practices to ensure only eligible voters are on the rolls while not disenfranchising infrequent voters. In Colorado, we import data from the Colorado Department of Revenue (motor vehicle), Colorado Department of Health (death records), United States Postal Service (change of address), law enforcement agencies (felony convictions) the Federal SAVE database (naturalization/derived citizenship) and other sources to ensure voter info is accurate & only eligible voters receive a ballot.

-Molly

Tigger8083 karma

The list of sources makes sense, but I think this original question was about when was the last time you performed the list maintenance?

voteearlyday5 karma

It's ongoing & continuous as we receive the info - most of this data is provided on a 30-day increment basis.

- Molly

(edited to add my name)

voteearlyday2 karma

I agree with Molly. In fact, federal law REQUIRES us to "purge" voter rolls every year. There are a lot of requirements and controls over this process (after all, removing someone from voter rolls is a big deal). Most election officials receive automatic updates from the state department of vital statistics (for deaths), but we also check the local obituaries. Weber County (Utah) runs our voter rolls through the national change of address list 3 or 4 times a year. Our voter rolls are squeaky clean.

- Ricky

erennert205 karma

Do you get an “I voted” sticker with your absentee ballot if you vote by mail?

voteearlyday1 karma

This is going to vary by state and even by locality. Including stickers used to be cost-prohibitive, but now they’re pretty inexpensive to include. Weber County, Utah, includes the stickers with the ballots. Check with your local election official. If they don’t include the sticker with the ballot, I’ll bet you could go in and pick one up. Also, there are a lot of virtual “I voted” stickers available online.

One thing NOT to do – don’t stick your sticker on your ballot. This can damage the scanning equipment, which often costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. And we already know you voted, because we have your ballot :-)

Believe it or not, when Utah went to vote by mail, the lack of sticker was easily the #1 complaint from voters. We LOVE our “I voted” stickers!

-Ricky

ForrestGump88884 karma

Are you related to Ryan Fitzpatrick aka the beard wearing Fitzmagic?

voteearlyday5 karma

No, we're not related but that guy looks fierce!

-Molly

Failcrab3 karma

When I voted in the primaries I got a notice saying that my signature didn't match what was on file. I don't remember actively changing my signature, so I imagine it must've changed over time since I registered to vote. Is there any way I can update the signature they have on file before I send in my ballot?

voteearlyday1 karma

If you corrected your signature after receiving that notice in the primary election, you should be good for the general election. Give your local election official a call and they can verify that it was updated.

-Ricky

BloodSweatandJeers3 karma

@molly , what's your take on the duplicate ballots that get mailed out to people who have moved, died, or wrong address?

voteearlyday5 karma

Great question! First, there’s an important role that voters can play in helping us minimize this situation, including updating your voter registration every time you move. But, this does happen and is normal – for example, each election, we get back thousands of undeliverable ballots because people move and do not always update their address. Luckily, in Colorado, we have same day registration and those voters can always go update their voter registration in person and vote up to and including Election Day. That all said, we really promote here in Colorado the practice of trying to periodically check your voter registration just to make sure it is accurate and up-to-date. But we have safety protocols built into the system to ensure that we can catch any attempt to vote more than 1 ballot. For instance, in Colorado, if we re-issue you a ballot, the original ballot is voided. Thus, if we receive back both ballots, one will be stopped and flagged by our system. And of course, that voter’s information would be turned over to the district attorney for investigation. And in CO, each and every ballot is signature verified!

-Molly

WooPig453 karma

Yesterday in my county there were several blue boxes that were vandalized and ballots were thrown in ditches and dumpsters. Police are currently investigating. With instances like these how can we assure that our vote is going to be counted?

voteearlyday3 karma

These stories, though disheartening, are extremely rare, and often are not reported in their entirety. I'd recommend you use drop boxes or return your ballot in person, preferably before election day (avoid the lines). Also, many states and localities have ways that you can verify that your ballot was received and processed. Don't hesitate to reach out to them.

-Ricky

Delta_62073 karma

Hey! I live in Colorado and I want to help out at the polling stations. I've already sent in an application to help but I haven't received any word back from them. Do you know when I should recieve word from them about if I can help?

voteearlyday2 karma

Hey! Thanks for your interest in working this election! If you applied through the Colorado Secretary of State’s office and it has been several weeks, I’d recommend getting in touch directly with your local county clerk. Most positions require a multi-day commitment as significant training is involved. Due to the state and national focus on election judge recruitment, we have been blessed in Boulder County to have received record number of applicants. It’s been so cool to see folks step up to serve during this pandemic!

-Molly

slappysq3 karma

I got 6 mail in ballots. 1 is for me and in googling around the other 5 people have been dead for years. What should I do?

voteearlyday2 karma

Thanks for asking! Call your local election official and follow their instructions. They may have you destroy the ballots or bring them in.

Don't try to vote them - that's a felony and is pretty easy to catch.

-Ricky

devilmonkey_11923 karma

Do mail in ballots have prepaid postage this year, or do they still require postage?

voteearlyday1 karma

This varies by state, and even by locality. Two things to keep in mind: The USPS has guaranteed that if postage is required to return a ballot, and a voter returns it without postage, it will still be delivered to the election official (who is also charged for the postage). Before you decide to get a “free” stamp, though, think whether it’s right to pass along the cost to your neighbors and fellow taxpayers. Second, many jurisdictions have ballot drop boxes. These don’t go through the Postal Service, and therefore don’t require postage. Interestingly, some research has found that there is actually no increase in turnout for governments that pay return postage. This happened in Utah in 2016 & 2018, where there was no difference in turnout for counties that paid return postage versus those that didn’t.

-Ricky

heidismiles2 karma

What do you think about the crazy turnout so far?

voteearlyday11 karma

When you give people an accessible voting system like vote-by-mail and the necessary information to participate in their democracy, people will vote! We’ve seen an increase in focus on these things which has translated to powerful early voting momentum this fall. Our job as election administrators is to do everything possible to make voting easy and smooth, and election officials are working around the clock right now to ensure voters have an awesome experience. And it makes it even more rewarding when voters are equally excited.

-Molly

devilmonkey_11922 karma

What should I do if my ballot appears to have been opened when I received it? There’s no obvious signs it was tampered with but I’m not sure if I should just go vote in person instead.

voteearlyday2 karma

If your ballot appears to have been opened, give your local elections official a call. They’ll let you know what to do. They may have you come in and get a replacement ballot (ballots are often printed on special paper for security reasons). I would not recommend waiting to go vote in person, because you’ll almost certainly stand in a line. Better to get the question answered in advance, so you can sit back and enjoy election day.

-Ricky

travisdeahl7242 karma

Have you met any famous people?

voteearlyday3 karma

One time I sat next to Ethan Hawke at a diner! But I didn't say anything and I still carry that with me.

-Molly

voteearlyday2 karma

I met Lou Ferrigno (the Hulk from the 70s), and my Jr. High crush, Christie McNichols.

-Ricky

LowestKey2 karma

Washington Post reported that in the 2020 primaries, over 500,000 mail in ballots, that's over a half million, were rejected for one reason or another, such as missing signature or signature too dissimilar.

At a time when people's votes matter more than ever, what are your best tips to help people ensure their ballots are counted rather than tossed?

voteearlyday2 karma

Good question. Make sure you read ALL of the instructions and sign your return envelope with a good signature (not a scribble). If you have any questions, please contact your local elections office - they're happy to help. But do it as early as possible - things get extremely hectic as we get closer to election day. Finally, if you get a letter saying that your signature doesn't match, follow the instructions. You will be able to fix it and have your vote counted.

-Ricky

Soundwall7652 karma

Hi there! I’m a Colorado Native, first time voter (18 M), and I truly believe that voting is paramount in making our country a better place. Sadly, most other kids my age who are now eligible to vote don’t see it like that. A lot of my friends are of the mindset that their vote is inconsequential, that their vote doesn’t mean anything. How would you go about trying to explain that this isn’t the case?

voteearlyday3 karma

So cool that you're a first time voter! Young voter turnout has increased drastically in Colorado since 2014, showing that enthusiasm and participation is high for young people, despite the knock on young people not caring in the national dialogue. But I can totally understand how disappointing it is to hear your friends say that their vote doesn't matter. What I'd say: there are a lot of different strategies to create change in your community, but one of the most *efficient* ways to make change is by voting. There are tons of local ballot measures and candidates who will directly impact your friends' everyday lives - by looking into who and what is on the ballot and what they control, it might change their mind about voting. Good luck and thanks for being a voter!

-Molly

Ibonedgod2 karma

If I am not old enough to vote should I still keep up with politics?

voteearlyday4 karma

In Colorado, if you are 16 or 17 you can preregister to vote so you're good to go on your 18th birthday! Also, we passed a new law in 2019 and now 17 years can vote in primaries if they'll be 18 by Election Day.

-Molly

Robertorgan812 karma

If a mail-in ballot is not counted due to a challenged signature, does that voter have the option to vote in person at any point? Will voters be able to confirm that their ballot has been received and counted prior to election day?

voteearlyday3 karma

In Colorado, if a judge isn't able to make a signature match between the mail ballot envelope signature + the signature on the voter registration record, the voter will receive a notification to "cure" their signature. They can do so by email, text (new), or coming in person. We notify the voters right away that they need to take action (cure their signature) to have their ballot count. We encourage voters to sign up for Ballot Track to get notified right away.

-Molly

Dark_Link_19961 karma

Question for both Molly & Rick.

What made you guys choose this line of work?

For Rick: Have you ever dealt with cases of Voter Intimidation?

For Molly: Have you ever had someone come to register to vote and been given false information on how to vote?

Thank you for this AMA!

voteearlyday1 karma

Voter intimidation - Rarely have I had to deal with voter intimidation. Now, I live in nice, kind, pleasant Utah. However, people still get passionate here. But when it comes down to voting, the citizens are all business, and are almost always pleasant. It's rare that someone will try to intimidate. When we talk with them, often they don't even realize (or at least they're good actors!) that their words/actions were intimidating, and they comply. For the extremely rare cases where they intentionally intimidate, we remove them from the premises. Now, having said that, there's much more intimidation happening online nowadays. This can involve biting, sarcastic, caustic responses, or could be misinformation (telling people that polling places close earlier than they really do, or that they won't be able to vote). If you have ANY questions, go to your local election official. Our job is to remove barriers and make sure you can vote independently and privately.

Why I chose this line of work - I doubt more than 1% of election administrators grew up planning to be in this business. We all have our own unique story of how we got involved. I've always been interested in elections, even as a youth. I got my masters degree in accounting and worked as a CPA and consultant for almost 20 years, before someone encouraged me to run for office. I said, "What does a Clerk/Auditor do?" They said, "Runs the elections and the finances of the county." I said excitedly, "And you can get paid to do that?" I decided to run and after 10 years of serving in this office, I still get excited on Monday morning to come in to work. This work is SO rewarding - helping to ensure confidence in elections, the foundation of our government. Elections gets in your blood and under your skin. You start dreaming about elections. You love talking about voting with other election geeks. What a great profession!

-Ricky

voteearlyday2 karma

First part - Not that I’m aware of. But is important to know that we have hundreds and hundreds of bipartisan judges who work each election, who are all doing the best they can to support voters. We receive great feedback from the public & voters, but elections are a human-run process so I can’t say we are 100% perfect all the time!

Second - I’ve been fascinated by elections since I was really young and in high school loved running campaigns for student government elections. I loved figuring out ways to get people to vote and this translated to what I spent my time doing in college & thereafter – running large-scale non-partisan voter registration drives. Systems, process, organization, collaboration, and engagement are things I love and this role allows me to do just that!

-Molly

Impressive-Being56181 karma

I haven't received my ballot in the mail yet, like I usually do. What should I do about this? Should I just wait? Should I be worried?

voteearlyday1 karma

Check with your local election official - some states have not even mailed ballots yet (due to state law). Go to your county or city website and search for elections. There is tons of info out there.

-Ricky

cantwaitformars1 karma

If I have sent in a mail in ballot application and now have my mail in ballot in hand, can I not use it and still vote in person?

voteearlyday1 karma

Yes you can. I would recommend you bring it with you when you show up - they might require you to surrender it. And vote early, if possible - election day lines will be loooong.

-Ricky

SpicyPenguin0871 karma

Not me, but someone else i know: What do we do if we have moved. A LOT, and we need to update where we live as its in a different Zip Code from the last election. Will that effect mail in ballots?

voteearlyday1 karma

You're on it - every time you move you must update your voter registration to ensure your ballot is sent to your current address. Here's a link with more info:

· https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/how-to-vote/

-Molly

devilmonkey_11921 karma

Does Colorado treat absentee ballots different than the standard mail-in ballots? I’ve heard in other states that absentee ballots sometimes aren’t counted and I haven’t found reputable information of them being counted differently to confirm that.

Edit: “reputable” not “repeatable”.

voteearlyday2 karma

In Colorado every active registered voter receives a ballot automatically in the mail and these ballots are all signature verified. Here's a link where you can see the lifecycle of a ballot: https://www.bouldercounty.org/elections/information/electionsecurity/

-Molly

-BeardedLurker-1 karma

Thanks for doing this. I recently received a handful of voter request forms for the previous owners of our home. I want to fill them out and send them in, but I want to know if this is a common occurrence. Is it possible someone at my old address got my voter form since I haven’t received it yet?

voteearlyday1 karma

Hey there, without fully understanding this, I'd recommend you get in touch with your local county clerk / elections office to chat with them about this!

-Molly

MrJerseyMark1 karma

Hello! SLCo resident here. What is Utah doing at the state level to ensure that people can vote safely if the postal service can't deliver ballots on time?

voteearlyday1 karma

Here's info for SLCo folks. The good news is - you have options: https://slco.org/clerk/elections/voting-in-person/

-Ricky

CentralGaming11 karma

How will you prevent individuals from printing off multiple copies, even if they photoshoppedd each one? What will happen if there is theft?

voteearlyday2 karma

All ballots tabulated are printed on official ballot stock. We only accept and tabulate 1 returned ballot from any 1 voter.

-Molly

Alex_Logan1 karma

After the electrons, is the data from the results exported for the purpose of data analytics and creating infographics to identify relationships? - Currently studying machine learning and data mining this semester!

Boulder is one of my favorite places on Earth. I'll be getting married at Royal Arch in '22! Looking forward to coming back.

voteearlyday2 karma

You can’t tie voters to how they voted. Once a ballot is separated from its envelope, your identity is no longer tied to your ballot. Elections offices and the public, can take voter roll data and run analytics on who turned out to vote. But note that voter rolls are only names/ages/where you live, not your racial or ethnic identity. And congratulations on your engagement!

  • Molly

redit_my_edit1 karma

Do you have to be 18 to vote? I have been receiving multiple ads for votes but I am not 18, but is there another way for my voice to be heard ?

voteearlyday6 karma

Federal law requires that you be 18 as of election day to vote in a federal general election. Until you’re 18, you can make your voice heard by participating in campaigns, helping candidates, hosting events (even informal ones where you get together with friends/family to discuss candidates and issues – frankly – these are the BEST events!), and researching headlines and articles before reposting/retweeting them.

Some states and cities allow voters under 18 to vote in city elections, or in primary elections if you will turn 18 before the general elections. You’ll want to check with your state’s elections office for more info on that.

-Ricky

littleliggett-1 karma

What do you say to the people claiming mail in ballots with cause fraud? I think that statement is 100% blasphemy, but I’m curious what you guys would have to say to people who believe that.

voteearlyday3 karma

Great question. Unfortunately, this is a narrative that is being perpetuated widely right now and the impact is that it can break people’s confidence about voting and keep them from participating. Mail ballot voting is safe and effective. Please know that we want you to participate, your vote matters, and we treat your information and your ballot with a great deal of care. And when I say “we” – I mean our team and the bipartisan teams of judges throughout the process! Here in Colorado, we’ve had widespread bipartisan support for our mail ballot election model for years and we’ve big wins from both parties statewide under our model. Every part of the mail ballot process is conducted by bipartisan teams – from ballot pick-up, signature verification, to ballot adjudication (ballot review when there are overvotes and handwritten marks on a ballot). And most states have very similar processes for verifying and handling mail ballots.

-Molly

Autotec20-1 karma

What are the consequences for voting twice?

voteearlyday1 karma

Voting twice in a federal election is a felony. with a year in jail and up to $10K in fines. In other elections, it will be dictated by state law.

In Weber County's 2018 general election, 18 people tried to vote twice. We caught and prevented every one of them, and as a bonus, they received a surprise visit from two FBI agents. Investigation is ongoing, so I can't comment more than that, other than to say almost all of them truly didn't realize that what they were doing was a felony, or even illegal.