The vote by mail ballots are slated to be sent out to those in Carbon County that are active voters on Oct. 15. However, Carbon County Clerk/Auditor Seth Marsing and Chief Deputy Clerk Lori Perez have been made aware that many are concerned with the process and the security of the mail ballots.
A big concern heard from many is that is not as secure as ways of voting in the past. However, Marsing stated that he would say that it is as secure as previous ways and he believes that much of the concern has to do with not fully understanding the process of what is done.
The ballots are numbered to know who the ballot belongs to. Upon completion of the ballot, there is a section on the back of the envelope that is sent back where the voter signs.
Upon receiving the ballots once more, the counters will know who it went to and verify every signature that is received. For a person to vote on someone else’s ballot, they would have to be a world-class signature forger. Marsing stated that, even then, when they are returned, voter-credit is given to the individual.
Those that count the ballots do not look to know what an individual voted at the time. Ballots are placed in batches of 50. Either the day before, or on Election Day, the envelopes are opened. The envelopes go to one person while the ballot goes to another in order to ensure that counters never know who voted what. The ballots themselves will be checked to make sure that appropriate, legible marks were made. On Election Day, they are ran through a tabulator scanner.
Marsing and Perez explained that there is an instruction sheet that comes with the ballot. They stressed that the most important steps are to make sure that the envelope is signed and that individuals vote the ballot that was assigned to their name. The signature must be on the outside of the envelope.
Marsing explained that, in the event that a signature does not match, the voter is called for confirmation. If an individual does vote and the forged signature somehow makes it through, the voter is urged to call and say that they did not get a ballot. The database can then be checked and see the voter credit. At that point, the credit would be removed and a new ballot would be issued. Marsing ensured that it would be very difficult for a fraudulent vote to get through.
There will be two vote centers, as opposed to the usual five, on Election Day. These centers serve a slightly different purpose than the past polling locations in that each center (one at the county administration building and one at Wellington City Hall) are available for any person in the county. There will be two ADA machines per location for voting. A ballot may be dropped off at the locations and there is an opportunity to register and vote. Provisional ballots may be received and assistance is on hand.
The locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 5. For municipal elections, there is not a requirement for early voting and it will not be participated in this year.
The deadline to register to receive a ballot by mail is Oct. 7, which is also the voter registration deadline. A copy of the ballot will be in the ETV Newspaper as well as available for viewing at the Carbon County Clerk/Auditor’s office. A ballot may also be picked up anytime between Oct. 7 and Election Day. Voters are encouraged to contact the Clerk/Auditor’s Office if their ballot is not received in the mail by Oct. 24.
Marsing and Perez strongly encourage the community to vote with the paper ballot by mail. It is how the system is set up to receive the vote, particularly in large quantities.