Ballot Irregularities Prompt Concerns – Bob Volpe


We only have a Presidential election once every four years. You would think when the official ballots are put together; they could get the thing right.

This year’s ballot instructions have a few irregularities that are at best, annoying, and at worst could disenfranchise many voters.

There are several mistakes in the “official voter instructions” that are causing concern and confusion among some voters.

The second section of the instructions, “How Do I Vote My Ballot” lists 5 bullet points, but there are really only 4 actual bullet points. Point 4 is just a continuation of point 3. This was apparently just a matter of the word processor automatically adding a bullet point when “enter” was hit on the keyboard. Still it is sloppy work that should have been caught upon proof reading.

Point 5 reads, “Sign and date the Self-Affirmation located on your own Official Return Envelope. See the example to the right.” When you look at the example to the right it shows: “X Your Signature”, with the words “Voter’s signature” under the line. There is no place that shows “Date” in the example. See photo.

Again this was probably the work of someone who was in too much of a hurry to take the time to make this “example” unmistakably coherent. A conspiracy minded person may conclude this was an intentional act to deceive and disqualify ballots, should a recount be done.

One voter, who called our reporter, complained that this was confusing, and he did not include the date on his official return envelope. He was concerned that if a close vote prompted examination of ballots to determine the winner, that his ballot may be thrown out for not having dated his ballot envelope. Shades of Florida’s infamous “hanging chads” debacle in the 2000 Presidential election worried him.

If those little matters weren’t bad enough, the unusually long mail-in ballot made some ballots overweight for mailing with just one stamp. Not all the ballots were overweight, but the ones that were would require two stamps applied to the envelope to meet postal regulations.

The voter who called, said when he was at the post office to drop off his ballot, the postal clerk was on the phone to Cripple Creek talking to someone about the overweight ballot question.

Our reporter went to the Woodland Park post office to find out what was being done about this issue. Postal supervisor, Cori Freed said she was aware of the issue and that all ballots would be sent to Cripple Creek for counting, and that no overweight ballots would be sent back to senders for additional postage.

With such a divisive and serious election, one would think that ballots and accompanied instructions would be proof read and easy to understand before they are sent out to the public. The added stress for voters who are already on the verge of panic due to the explosiveness of this year’s Presidential race was magnified by a sloppy and ill thought out ballot instruction sheet and overweight ballots.

Teller County voters deserve better.