Garfield County election judges stay busy in early November
On and leading up to Election Day, anyone who enters Room 101 B in the Garfield County Courthouse must sign in and out with a bright pink or green pen – intentionally different colors than the blue or black ink voters use to fill out their ballots.
It’s just one of the many steps taken to ensure all votes are counted – and that the count is done with integrity.
“We have all of these checks and balances,” Lois Wilmoth said.
Wilmoth, who was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, has served as a mail-in election judge for over a decade.
Monday, Wilmoth meticulously verified that the number of envelopes that entered room 101 B matched the amount of ballots that would eventually run through the scanning machines.
“Once you have a problem, you stop. Nobody goes ahead anywhere until you find the ballot that is missing,” Wilmoth said.
The entire ballot counting process begins when a signature verification judge ensures that the John Hancock on each ballot’s envelope matches the registered voter’s autograph on file.
Following the signature verification procedure, each unopened envelope gets placed into a sealed box, which an election judge hand-delivers to Room 101 B.
From there, election judges open each envelope and review every ballot for blemishes like the all-too-common coffee stain.
“If [the ballot] is ruined to where they cannot run it through the machine they have to duplicate it,” Wilmoth said.
A republican and democrat must then decipher the blemished ballot’s votes and verbally call them out to another election judge. That judge then fills out a new ballot under the watchful eye of another election judge from a different political party.
“It is nice to have a team that works together,” Starla Karr, Rifle resident and Garfield County election judge, said. “I know voter fraud is a concern for people. So, when you see all they do to try and protect from that, it makes you feel better about the election process.”
According to Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico as of Monday afternoon the county had received approximately 8,000 ballots back of the 34,000 it mailed out.
“We have seven vote centers on Election Day,” Alberico said.
From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Garfield County residents may still vote at any of those seven locations that include: Carbondale Town Hall, the Glenwood Springs Community Center, New Castle, Silt and Parachute branch libraries and the county clerk’s office in Glenwood Springs and Rifle.
Additionally, each polling location has the means to assist persons with disabilities.
‘They can drop their ballot off, they can get a replacement [ballot] or if they need to register for the first time – Colorado has same-day voter registration – they can do all of those things at any one of these vote centers,’ Alberico said.
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Diane Mitsch Bush was defeated by incumbent Scott Tipton in 2018 for the 3rd Congressional District seat. Mitsch Bush is running again as the Democratic candidate but this time against Republican political newcomer Lauren Boebert.