Conversation with … Sara Rosene, Grand County election official
November 3, 2008
Today is Election Day. The general election is being organized and overseen here in Grand County, Colorado, by Clerk and Recorder Sara Rosene. She has been handling the elections for the county since 1991.
Rosene reports that Grand County has a total of 11,000 registered voters with about 9,000 of them considered active voters (those who voted in the last general election in 2006). Even if someone is considered an inactive voter, they can still vote today.
As of last Friday, Oct. 31, when early voting ended, Rosene reported that 890 voters in the county had already cast their ballots. In addition, more than 4,300 mail-in ballots had been received by her office of the 5,200 mail-in ballots that were issued.
Have these early voting and mail-in ballots already been counted?
“Yes, they’ve already been processed and run through the voting machine. The mail-in ballots have to go through the process where our election judges verify the signatures by matching them with the ones on the voter’s mail-in applications.
“Our election judges also go through the mail-in ballots to check for ones that are stained or torn because they won’t work in our voting machines. They also check for ballots where the voter mistakenly circled the little boxes instead of penciling them in as instructed.
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“If necessary, our judges, who are from both political parties, will re-do the ballot and have each other verify that it was the same way the voter voted on the original ballot. After verification, they are sent onto another set of judges who run the ballots through the voting machines where they are scanned.”
With about half of the county voters having already cast their ballots through early voting and mail-ins, how busy should the polling places in the county be on Tuesday?
“I suggest that everybody come prepared to their polling place. It’s a long ballot. If anyone wants to see it before they go to their polling place, there are sample ballots on the county’s web page, or they can go to the link on our Web site for the state’s Blue Book to get further information on a particular ballot issue.
“We also encourage voters to not to wait until the last minute to come to the polling place Tuesday if they want to vote. The polls will close promptly at 7 p.m.
“The most significant thing that everyone should remember to bring with them to their polling place is their I.D. If it’s a driver’s license, it has to be a Colorado driver’s license.
“And a voter can only cast their ballot at the polling place for their precinct. We have six polling places for this county’s 12 precincts. Voters need to know which polling place is the correct one for them.”
If you applied for and received a mail-in ballot, but have not mailed it prior to Tuesday, what should you do?
“Mail-in ballots can only be cast Tuesday at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office at the Grand County Courthouse in Hot Sulphur Springs. They must be turned in by 7 p.m.”
Can you wear a campaign button into a polling place?
“Electioneering is not allowed within 100 feet of a polling place. When people come into a polling place, they must remove any campaign buttons or stickers. It’s not fair or legal to campaign for a candidate or ballot measure in a polling place.”
What if you get to your polling place and the election officials cannot find your voter registration?
“If the officials can’t find your name on the roles on election day or you didn’t bring your I.D., you are still allowed to cast a provisional ballot.
“To do that, you fill out an application form which is attached to the envelope in which the election judge will place your provisional ballot.
“These ballots are treated differently than regular ballots because they are not counted until 10 days after the election.”
When will you issue election results?
“Assuming that we get all the mail-in ballots by 5 p.m. Tuesday, we should be able to release the early voting and mail-in results by about 8:30 p.m. The rest of the results may not be available until the early morning on Wednesday.”