Making your vote count — how to vote in Larimer County

Making+your+vote+count+%E2%80%94+how+to+vote+in+Larimer+County

Collegian | Chloe Leline

Allie Seibel, News Editor

Casting a ballot is a process some young people look forward to; it’s a special privilege of being 18 to be able to aid in making the decisions that help guide local, state and national government.

Voting comes with both excitement and, especially for first-time voters, nerves and apprehension. While the system of voting is designed to be simple for voters, the entire process, from receiving the ballot to understanding the issues and candidate positions, deciding who and what to vote for and returning the ballot, can seem daunting and complicated.

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The midterm elections will be held Nov. 8 in Colorado. Residents who are 18 years or older and registered to vote in Colorado can cast a ballot for the primary elections in either Larimer County or other counties of registration.

Out-of-state students can vote by absentee ballot for their state of residence. Students can register to vote in Colorado if they have a Colorado driver’s license or other identification, have lived in Colorado for at least 22 days and are a U.S. citizen.

While students can register to vote in Colorado with a social security number, USA.gov, a government-run national website that includes voting information, says they can fill out an absentee ballot instead of registering to vote in Colorado. Being a student studying out of state is considered justification for an absentee ballot.

Out-of-state students can register to vote in multiple states, however. As long as students don’t cast votes in two separate states, registration can be held in two different states, especially if the absentee ballot period was missed.

To register to vote in Larimer County, visit the Colorado secretary of state’s website. Voters can also register by completing a printed form and mailing it to the Larimer County Elections address within the Clerk and Recorder’s office.

In-person voter registration occurs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the Larimer County Elections office and the Citizens Information Center in Fort Collins. There are separate registration locations for Loveland and Estes Park, Colorado.

If the county receives a ballot with either an error or an unverified signature, the voter will receive a letter and have eight days after Election Day to rectify the error.

For those in Larimer County and those registered to vote in any Colorado county, ballots can be cast in a variety of ways easiest for voter convenience.

Mail-in ballots 

According to the secretary of state’s website, every Colorado-registered voter will receive a mail-in ballot. Ballots were mailed out Monday, Oct. 17. In order for a mail-in ballot to be counted, the county clerk for the registered county must receive the ballot by 7 p.m. Nov. 8.

To track the status of your mail-in ballot, visit the secretary of state’s ballot-tracking website.

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To ensure the ballot reaches the county in time, register with BallotTrax, which displays ballot status “from sent to counted.”

To ensure that a ballot is received in time for counting, the secretary of state’s website recommends using a ballot drop box.

Ballot drop boxes

Ballot drop boxes will be open 24 hours a day until 7 p.m. Nov. 8. Only Larimer County ballots can be deposited in local drop boxes.

The Lory Student Center will have a walk-up ballot drop box available.

Other ballot drop box locations in Larimer County include the Elks Lodge, Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Harmony Library, South Transit Center, Fort Collins Police Services, Larimer County Administrative Services, Larimer County Human Services, Fort Collins Traffic Operations, Fort Collins Senior Center and Northside Aztlan Community Center.

Addresses are available on the Larimer County clerk’s website.

In-person voting 

Voter Service and Polling Centers will be open across Larimer County from Oct. 24 until Nov. 8. Some VSPCs open Oct. 24, others open Nov. 4 and several open just for Election Day, starting Nov. 7.

At a VSPC, voters may fill out their ballot or drop off their completed ballot. All VSPCs will have Americans With Disabilities Act-accessible voting machines. Voters may obtain a replacement ballot for Larimer County at any VSPC.

Colorado State University will have a VSPC open at the Durrell Center starting Oct. 24. Larimer County Administrative Services will open the VSPC Oct. 24. Both will be open Monday through Friday, Oct. 24-28; Monday through Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 5; and Monday through Tuesday, Nov. 7-8.

Nov. 4-opening VSPC locations are the Clearwater Church, Council Tree Covenant Church, Drake Centre, Elks Lodge and Hilton Hotel. They will be open Friday through Saturday, Nov. 4-5; Monday, Nov. 7; and Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Additional VSPC locations are the American Legion, Council Tree Library, Fort Collins Country Club and Front Range Community College. They will be open Nov. 7-8.

Berthoud, Loveland, Timnath, Wellington, Estes Park and Loveland, Colorado all have separate VSPC locations.

All addresses and hours for VSPC locations can be found on the Larimer County Clerk’s website.

Reach Allie Seibel at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @allie_seibel_.