Successfully Voting During a Pandemic in Colorado

Successfully Voting During a Pandemic in Colorado

Kyley Fishman and Pilar Melendez, Head Editor/Chief and Community Editor

This year, the usual excitement for the upcoming fall and the cheery chill of the autumn breeze is not the only thing filling our minds; instead, the dread of the upcoming election day, who to vote for, and how to do so is easily overwhelming the previously untroubled enthusiasm. 

 

Compared to elections of the past, choosing a candidate and figuring out how to cast a vote for them appears to be a challenge. The fears of who’s going to win and who’s not going to win, and how to find a ballot booth in the middle of the pandemic easily adds stress onto an already stressful (and might I say, unpredictable) year. However, this isn’t the first time the US has had to choose their leader in the middle of the Pandemic. 

 

Much like today, the 1920’s also experienced a line of historical, and let’s be honest here, traumatic events. War, unemployment, the rising influenza pandemic, race riots, labor strikes, and the fear of the stocks plummeting (sound familiar?) were all major factors in the 1920’s Presidential Election. Major similarities between that decade’s past events and todays don’t just end there. The way they handled the voting and campaigning also draw out parallels. 

 

With both decades having public gatherings banned, and heavily populated spots such as theaters and schools monitored, seeking coverage of the election through the mail and newspapers became a new normal. And the distancing didn’t stop there. 

 

Wearing masks became the early 1920’s new normal as well. Every single person, may it be voters, poll workers, or neither, were mandated to wear a face mask in a public setting, dubbing the Election of 1920 as the  “first masked ballot ever known in the history of America.”

 

However, despite the overall patriotism and the gracing of women voters for the first time, only around 40% of US voters cast their ballots in. That can’t be the case this year. 

 

With an overabundance of conflicts in government and the growing divide in political beliefs, now is the time to cast your vote and help the Election of 2020 become the second masked ballot known in the history of America. 

 

There is an array of information that first time voters should be aware of, and honestly, it can be overwhelming. That is why there are a few things you should be mindful of as the election approaches. Most importantly, all of the deadlines for the State of Colorado, and specifically, information pertinent to the location you reside in! 

 

  • October 26th is also the last day that any registration or application changes can be made. After this date, you will not receive a ballot and must vote in person in order to obtain a ballot. You have to present yourself at a Voter Service Polling Center. 
    • If you are registered to vote before October 26, 2020, you should expect to receive a ballot at your designated mailing address. You can return your ballot by mail, or find a drop box near you. Colorado is a universal mail ballot state, so now worries about if you did or didn’t fill out the absentee ballot 
  • Early voting time window is October 15th – November 2nd 
  • All ballots will be sent to all registered and active voters on October 9th for the State of Colorado 

October 12 – Nov. 3: 24/7 Ballot drop boxes open at the following locations: 

  • Carbondale Town Hall – near front entrance- 511 Colorado Ave., Carbondale 
  • Garfield County Courthouse – on 8th St., Glenwood Springs 
  • New Castle Town Hall- near front entrance- 450 W. Main St., New Castle 
  • Silt Town Hall- near front entrance- 231 N. 7th St.., Silt 
  • Garfield County Admin Bldg. #D- at front entrance- 195 W. 14th St., Rifle 
  • Parachute Town Hall – near front entrance- 222 Grand Valley Way, Parachute 
  • East entrance of the Courthouse in Glenwood Springs Monday- Friday, from 7:30am to 5:00pm. On election day hours change to 7:00am to 7:00pm 

Early Voter Service and Polling Center (VSPCs) will be open October 19th through November 3rd in the following locations: 

  • Rifle Fairgrounds – South Hall
  • Glenwood Springs Community Center – use west entrance

Open – Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, October 31, 2020 – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Election Day, November 3, 2020 – 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. 

 

Luckily, there have been no issues with voter intimidation in Garfield County historically. But in case you run into this issue as a first time voter, here’s a list of immediate actions you should take if confronted with this issue. Before listing those off, you first need to know what voter intimidation may look like. Oftentimes, voter intimidation is presented in various different ways, such as blocking a polling station, questioning your citizenship status, perhaps being questioned about the party you are affiliated with, or questioning whether or not you speak English. In the United States, it is illegal to intimidate or coerce any individual because it interferes with the right to vote in the manner that the individual chooses to vote. If you do experience voter intimidation- make sure to call the National Voter Intimidation Hotline: 1-866-OUR- VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en español) or click this link to learn more.

 

Some miscellaneous information about the upcoming election: 

  • You can also register and vote on Election Day
  • To register in Colorado you must: be a citizen of the United States, you have to be a resident of the United States for at least 22 days prior to Nov. 3rd, you have to be 18 years of age in order to vote in this upcoming election, and you cannot be serving a sentence, detention, or confinement for a felony conviction. 
  • If you opt to vote in person in the state of Colorado, you will need a form of identification that shows your address which must be a location in the state of Colorado. 
  • Acceptable forms of identification are: Colorado driver’s license; a valid ID card issued by the Department of Revenue: a US passport, or an employee ID with a photo issued by any entity of Colorado or US government. 
  • Keep in mind that not every county in the state of Colorado is open for in person voting. However, there IS in person ballot drop of sites. Make sure you know these locations ahead of time so you aren’t rushed! 
  • Make sure to look at your sample ballots ahead of time so that you can do research on the matters that are being voted upon this upcoming election. 

Tragically, unbeknownst to the voters of the 1920’s election, a new surge of influenza cases in the United States would rise due to not following safety guidelines. To stop us from totally repeating history, please follow safety guidelines and wear a mask if you are to vote in person or when you go to drop off your ballot. Remember, every vote counts and a single voice makes a big difference. In addition, remember to plan ahead of time how you will obtain your ballot and how you will turn in your ballot. It never hurts to research candidates, topics, and policies pertinent to your area of residence and the party you choose to vote for. Now go vote! 

A reminder: To register online go to https://www.sos.state.co.us/voter/pages/pub/olvr/verifyNewVoter.xhtml

To learn more about topics mentioned above, please check out the links provided below: 

  • Govotecolorado.gov

https://www.garfield-county.com/clerk-recorder/elections/

  • 1920’s Election

https://www.history.com/news/1918-pandemic-midterm-elections

  • How to send in your ballot through mail, along with the Dos’ and Don’t of filling out the ballot 

https://www.npr.org/2020/08/07/900210406/the-most-important-mail-youll-ever-send-a-ballot

  • Elections in Garfield County

https://www.garfield-county.com/tag/elections/