Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said her office is testing a way for voters to fix problematic ballots by phone in the November election.
The state’s mail-in election process relies on a signature verification system to ensure ballots were cast by the registered voters to whom they were mailed. Ballots are flagged when a signature is missing or doesn’t match.
A new program expected to launch statewide, TXT2cure, will make it easier for voters — especially younger ones — to cure, or fix, the problem, Griswold told The Denver Post. Voters will be notified of discrepancies by mail, as usual. But now they’ll have a route other than the U.S. Postal Service to fix the problem.
“You literally just text ‘Colorado2Vote,’ enter your voter ID and follow the instructions,” Griswold said. “You don’t need a stamp. You don’t need to go to a mailbox. You do it right on your phone.”
Voters between 18 and 22 years of age sometimes have their signatures flagged because election computers and judges have fewer signatures to compare against.
“We all know that younger people are always on their phones,” Griswold said. “It’s an easy thing, making it more accessible to fix those signatures.”
The Delta County Clerk’s Office tried the program in this year’s June 30 primary, and about half of the 20-30 ballots rejected for signature discrepancies were cured with TXT2cure, said Rene Loy-Maas, chief deputy clerk.
“It just gives (voters) another option to be able to quickly cure that discrepant signature and with our tech-savvy youth now, that follows right along with them,” Loy-Maas said.
Three Colorado counties, including Denver, have used TXT2cure in past elections and 16, including Delta County, tried it out for the first time in June, said Steve Hurlbert, spokesperson for Griswold.
More than half of Denver ballots with signature problems are cured through the program, said Alton Dillard, spokesperson for the Denver County Clerk’s Office.
To be sure, the rejection rate on signatures is low: Fewer than 2% of ballots cast by 18-year-olds, for instance, are referred back to the voter to cure. Still, Griswold said, it’s important to take steps to count every vote possible.
The state is finishing security tests on the technology and expects it to be available statewide by the Nov. 3 election.
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