Weld County’s Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes, a Republican, says Colorado has been conducting mail voting “very, very well,” and Colorado voters should not be misled by “national rhetoric” about mail voting.
Koppes appeared on a Greeley radio talk show Friday to discuss voting-related news in Weld County–including the controversial issue of mail-in voting.
“We’ve always done a really strong job with the mail-in ballots, and it’s quite interesting how many people are listening to the national rhetoric, Koppes told host Gail Fallen on 1310 KFKA. “And one thing I always try and remind them is the national rhetoric doesn’t really apply to Colorado because we have been doing it for so long. And we have been doing it very, very well.”
“I would much rather you have that conversation with me if Facebook’s leading you down a weird rabbit hole, or Google, or Twitter, or Instagram, or whatever social media platform you’re using–if you have concerns or questions, ask me,” said Koppes. “Ask my team. We will–like I said, more than happy to have a conversation, ’cause I’m not shy about talking about elections.”
According to the New York Times, vote-by-mail misinformation has topped the list in 2020 as the most rampant form of election misinformation being spread through media, from print and TV to social media and blogs. Nearly a fourth of the mentions of the topic have been misinformation.
Koppes later told the Colorado Times Recorder that voters who are curious about any steps in the election process can come into the facility and talk with Koppes in person, and even take a look around.
Although the election process is complicated, Koppes outlined just a few of the protections in place within Weld County and throughout Colorado that ensure the integrity of the ballot from the elections office to the voter’s home, and back again.
One of these protocols is BallotTrax, a tracking system that notifies voters exactly where their ballot is.
“We have BallotTrax, and we are able to–and the voter is able to–actually see their ballot from when we mail it out to them, all the way until it comes back to us,” Koppes told the Colorado Times Recorder. “And I think that really is a great service that we provide to Weld County and the state, because we’re actually implementing that statewide for this election.”
In Weld County, says Koppes, the majority of voters use one of the 16 24-hour drop boxes to cast their ballot–which still allows voters to track their vote via BallotTrax.
There’s also what Koppes calls an “intelligent barcode” on each ballot’s outgoing envelope and return envelope.
“[The intelligent barcode] gets scanned in by the U.S. Postal Service machines, and that lets us know that when we first send them out on October 9, my first initial mailing is gonna be over 180,000 pieces. And so, those are all going to get scanned, and I can verify how many I drop off at the Denver mail facility is exactly how many went into the mail strain,” Koppes told the Colorado Times Recorder. “…when you do decide to use the post office to return it, that gets scanned in and I get a notification of how many ballots have been, you know, beeped in by the post office, so I know how many should be coming my way as well.”
Mail-in voting, Koppes explained during her radio interview, is nothing new here in Colorado.
“We have been doing some sort of mail-in ballot voting since, you know, the early 90s, and then we transitioned into permanent mail-in voting in the early 2000s, and then that ultimately led to us becoming an all mail ballot state in 2013, because the voters told us this how they wanted to vote here in Colorado,” said Koppes during the radio interview.
Even before Colorado became an all-mail ballot state in 2013–where every registered voter is automatically mailed a ballot–the constituents of Weld County already overwhelmingly opted to request mail-in ballots.
“Before 2013, we had anywhere between 70 and 75 percent of our voter registration on that permanent mail-in voting, so we were automatically mailing them ballots at that point,” Koppes said. “And then after 2013, we went to 100 percent, so it wasn’t really a huge jump for us here in Weld County.”
Colorado’s deep commitment both statewide and locally to protecting elections, while also making it easy for people to vote, has paid off.
“In 2016 and 2018, we were recognized as one of the safest states in the nation to cast your ballot, and that’s just due to all the things that we do prior to Election Day, like the testing we will be doing for the public next week,” said Koppes.
“We do a lot of tracking, because every single ballot that’s voted is precious to me and my team and the election judges that work and we want to make sure that if you take the effort to fill out your ballot, that we are counting it and having your voice heard,” Koppes told the Colorado Times Recorder.