Friday, December 4, 2020

In Colorado, Voting by Mail Was Practiced Well Before Coronavirus

File numbers of People are voting by mail this election. In Colorado, voters aren’t seeing a lot of a change.

In Colorado, which adopted voting by mail statewide in 2013, election officers mail a poll to each registered voter at election time. It’s one in all 5 states, together with Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington, that embraced such a system even earlier than this year’s coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve been social distancing earlier than it was cool, with our mail-in ballots,” stated Denver Clerk and Recorder Paul López, a registered Democrat whose workplace is formally nonpartisan. “We’ve achieved this degree of resilience, to the purpose the place we even pleasure ourselves on being pandemic-proof.”

With the pandemic, the usage of mail ballots has skyrocketed with the objective of easing potential crowding at in-person voting areas. One other 4 states—California, Nevada, New Jersey and Vermont—plus the District of Columbia, switched to mailing all registered voters ballots. Most different states allowed any voter to request a mail poll forward of the November election; a couple of others require voters to fulfill sure standards or have a preapproved cause to vote absentee.

Booths are set up at the Hiawatha Davis Jr. Recreation Center, which was being used as a voter service and polling center in Denver on Oct. 22.
Cubicles are arrange on the Hiawatha Davis Jr. Recreation Middle, which was getting used as a voter service and polling middle in Denver on Oct. 22.

The hovering use of mail ballots presents logistical challenges. Many states and counties have raced to beef up their ballot-counting programs and election workers to deal with the upper quantity.

Colorado’s expertise serves as a information for the way voting by mail works, from sending ballots out to counting them. Right here’s a glance inside one Colorado election workplace, the Denver Elections Division, this election.

Issuing Ballots:

Beginning Oct. 9, the Denver Elections Division started mailing a poll to each energetic registered voter within the county; energetic registered voters are these for whom the county says it has an up-to-date tackle. As of per week earlier than Election Day, Denver has despatched out about 456,000 ballots, in accordance with Alton Dillard, an elections division spokesman.

Voters additionally produce other choices. Denver opened 36 websites for in-person voting this election and permits voters to register for in-person voting by way of Election Day.

Returning Ballots:

To return the ballots, voters can drop them within the mail or use drop bins situated throughout Denver. Colorado units a deadline of seven p.m. on Election Day for the receipt of ballots.

Ballots positioned in drop bins, for instance, are retrieved by groups of election employees and brought to the Denver Elections Division’s major workplace downtown. Election employees make use of a number of measures to make sure safety, together with padlocking the bins holding ballots and sealing these bins.

Colorado counties are permitted to start processing the ballots upon receipt, permitting election employees to start out verifying voter signatures and opening the envelopes.

Not all states enable election officers to do such processing previous to Election Day, together with two swing states, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, so counting and saying outcomes are prone to take longer there. Colorado’s strategy saves time in counting and releasing outcomes.

Signature Verification:

Signature verification is used to forestall poll fraud. In Denver, election employees obtain coaching in handwriting evaluation to match the signature voters are required to placed on poll envelopes with one on file. Signatures in Colorado Division of Motor Autos information are usually used, although samples may be drawn from voter-registration kinds and different information, Mr. Dillard stated.

In keeping with the Colorado Secretary of State’s workplace, if a group of election employees deem the signature a mismatch, state legislation requires the county to inform the voter and provide an opportunity to appropriate the difficulty so the poll might be counted. Members of these groups are drawn from totally different political events or are unaffiliated to maintain partisanship in verify, Mr. Dillard stated.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, just lately introduced a brand new system to permit voters to repair signature discrepancies by utilizing a smartphone to supply the required info and signal an affidavit. She stated signature discrepancies disproportionately have an effect on youthful voters. Inexperienced voters and racial minorities additionally are typically disproportionately affected, in accordance with analysis by College of Florida political-science professor Daniel Smith .

Some fraction of mail ballots are disqualified each election for non-matching signatures or different errors. Round 1% of mail ballots had been disqualified nationally within the 2016 basic election, in accordance with the federal U.S. Election Help Fee. Denver rejected 0.7% in that election, Mr. Dillard stated.

Poll Preparation:

To organize the ballots for counting, they have to be separated from the envelopes. The Denver Elections Division does this by utilizing ballot-extraction machines. Election employees then manually put together the ballots for scanning by unfolding and flattening them.

Ballots are dealt with in accordance with detailed procedures that embrace record-keeping which tracks the variety of ballots obtained and logging batches of ballots as they transfer by way of the counting course of.

The Denver Elections Division gives a live stream of ballot-processing rooms on its web site, so voters can view the method in real-time. The groups of election employees deal with transporting the ballots between totally different rooms throughout the division.

Poll Counting:

Workers in the ballot counting room at the Denver Elections Division headquarters on Oct. 22.
Employees within the poll counting room on the Denver Elections Division headquarters on Oct. 22.

After these safety checks and processing steps, the poll is then scanned and counted. Tabulation could start 15 days earlier than Election Day in Colorado. Denver’s outcomes are saved on a server housed in a safe space and monitored by video, amongst different safety measures. Outcomes are solely permitted to be introduced after 7 p.m. on Election Day when polls shut.

Mr. López, Denver’s Clerk and Recorder, known as Colorado’s voting system resilient even amid the coronavirus. “Democracy will not be going to fall to a pandemic,” he stated. “Individuals are nonetheless going to have the ability to vote, and individuals are nonetheless going to have the ability to have their voices heard.”

Scanned paper ballots are stored in the vault attached to the ballot counting room at the Denver Elections Division headquarters.
Scanned paper ballots are saved within the vault connected to the poll counting room on the Denver Elections Division headquarters.

Former J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler Sells Idaho Home for $11 Million Former J.Crew chief Mickey Drexler has offered his Ketchum, Idaho, house and two adjoining tons for $11 million, in accordance with individuals acquainted with the transaction. The property first went in the marketplace in 2019 with an asking worth of $13.9 million, in accordance with Travis Jones, who with colleague Svea Grover at Engel & Völkers represented either side of the transaction. Most just lately the property was looking for $8.9 million, although that worth didn’t embrace the adjoining tons. Designed by architect Thierry W. Despont, the stone home sits on a hillside within the Knob Hill neighborhood and appears out on the Smoky Mountains, Mr. Jones mentioned. The roughly 6,600-square-foot house consists of three bedrooms, 5 loos, a two-sided fire within the nice room, gold-leaf ceilings within the kitchen and an elevator. It additionally got here absolutely furnished, from the chandelier by artist Dale Chihuly to the plaid couches (which coordinate with the plaid partitions, plaid cushions and plaid curtains). Suzanne Devitt Levit, who bought the property together with her husband Carson Levit, mentioned she likes the interiors. “When associates ask me are you going to alter something (as a result of they know what a design buff I'm), I say, ‘Completely not! I might by no means have the audacity to change Thierry and Mickey’s creation,’ ” Mrs. Levit wrote in an e-mail. “And by chance, we’ve at all times cherished plaid!” Mrs. Levit mentioned she noticed the home on-line, relating that she had loved a latest go to to the realm a lot “that I did what I typically do, which is scroll by means of Zillow late evening in mattress.” She added that she and her husband, a former hedge-fund supervisor and a non-public investor, had been pondering of shopping for a ski house in an space that supplied summer time actions. Mrs. Levit, who together with her household relies in San Francisco, emailed the itemizing agent that evening, and she or he and her daughter toured the home the following day. Along with the structure, the situation and the views, the Levits mentioned they had been struck by the eye to element, all the way down to the house’s personal stationery emblazoned with its moniker “Ski Home.” In the meantime, the Levits are asking $12.9 million for his or her Napa Valley house, which features a four-bedroom, four-bath essential home, a two-bedroom guesthouse, two swimming pools, a placing inexperienced and a 2½ acre winery. Mrs. Levit mentioned they're promoting after over 20 years as a result of they're avid skiers and plan on spending extra time in Solar Valley and in Gulf Stream, Fla. Whereas Mrs. Levit mentioned their Solar Valley buy was not motivated by the pandemic, the realm, like many trip locations, has benefited from the dramatic shifts in luxury housing demand which have been spurred by the virus, Mr. Jones mentioned. “That is our first-ever billion-dollar yr,” he added. Along with his stint at J.Crew, Mr. Drexler was additionally CEO of the Hole and served on the board of Apple for 15 years. He has achieved different homes with Mr. Despont together with a Manhattan townhouse and a Tribeca condominium. He declined to remark.
Via: WSJ

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