How To Return That Mail-In Ballot? There’s A Few Options

October 27, 2016
Photo: Ballot boxes in Aravada in June 2016 voting voters
Ballot boxes in Arvada on June 28, 2016.

Is there a ballot -- and maybe it's even finished -- sitting on your kitchen table? Mail-in ballots have made voting in Colorado easier than ever, though I'll admit, my own ballot sat finished for nearly a week before I returned it to a drop box.

So, to take away every excuse we had to procrastinate, here's how you can return your mail-in ballot before Election Day:

1) Drop It In The Mail

Follow the directions that came with your ballot. Depending on what county you're in, your clerk will tell you that you need either one or two stamps.

But wait! As the Colorado Independent reported this week, the U.S. Postal Service issued new rules in 2013 that require county clerks to pick up the tab for ballots with insufficient postage. 

You might not want to count on that, though. Secretary of State spokeswoman Lynn Bartels told the Independent that voters should use two forever stamps "to be sure."

“I can’t imagine any Coloradan would gamble with something as precious as a vote," she said.

The USPS and the Secretary of State's office recommend you mail your ballot by Nov. 1 to make sure they are delivered by Election Day.

2) Drop It Off

There are lots and lots of 24-hour drop-off sites and voter service and polling centers across the state. Check this nifty map from the Voting Information Project, or check with your county clerk, to find one near you.

3) Probably Don't Give It To A Ballot "Harvester"

Someone, probably from a campaign, might knock on your door and offer to deliver your ballot for you. The Larimer County Clerk warns that it's a bad idea to give a "harvester" your ballot.

“When (a voter) drops a ballot in the mail, it's under federal protection. When they drop it in one of our boxes, it has great care and protection taken with it, including a chain of custody,” Angela Myers told the Loveland Reporter Herald. "When they give it to a harvester, there are no such securities.”

Harvesting -- up to a point -- is technically legal, though. One person can turn in up to 10 ballots.

4) Just Vote In Person

You can always vote at your local polling place. Some opened this week and others will open next week. They'll remain until Election Day, Nov. 8. The election judges will give you a new ballot, canceling your unused mail-in ballot. 

You Made It...

...through this story! And by donating right now you can make even more stories like this one possible.

MAKE YOUR GIFT TODAY