Colorado tests new program to fix ballot issues by phone

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Colorado’s Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced a new initiative that will fix rejected mail-in ballots in the upcoming presidential election through a phone-based confirmation system – sidestepping the U.S. Postal Service's snail-mail.

Signature discrepancies is one of the leading reasons for ballot rejection in Colorado, and younger voters are reportedly affected at a disproportionate rate.

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Colorado’s ballot verification security measure relies on a system that compares previous signatures – meaning if a voter has less signatures in the system, they are more likely to have a discrepancy with their ballot.

“Overall, our signature discrepancy rates are extremely low, they’re the lowest in the nation, but they are a lot higher for younger people,” Griswold told Fox News Wednesday.

During the 2018 general election, Colorado’s signature discrepancy rate was roughly half a percentage point among voters statewide. But ballots of young voters were rejected nearly two percent of the time.

While the rate of signature related ballot rejections appears extremely low, Griswold said it’s important that every vote be counted.

“As the youngest secretary of state in the nation, I’m dedicated to doing everything in power to make sure that every vote counts, especially rolling out technology that we think younger people will find more acceptable," she said.

Griswold said that voting amongst younger populations increased by 16 percent when the state adopted mail-in voting in 2014, and the new cellphone-centered initiative will ensure their votes count.

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The program expected to launch state wide, TXT2Cure, is meant to make it easier for voters to quickly address an issue that is flagged through the state’s new electronic ballot-tracking system.

Coloradoans have until Nov. 12 to text “Colorado” to 2Vote and enter their registration ID in order to verify their ballot. Ballots, however, must be received by Election Day.

“It will enable younger voters and all voters for that matter a technologically easier way to fix the signature discrepancies and make sure their ballots are counted and their voices are heard in our election," Griswold said.

The Secretary of State pushed back against recent claims by President Trump and other Republicans that mail-in voting leads to wide spread voter fraud.

“It’s extremely rare, but in fact we have safeguards in place," she said. "We want to make sure that only eligible people are voting, and one of the things we have in place is signature verification."

Colorado’s early voting starts Oct. 19, but Griswold could not confirm when the program will be officially launched statewide as it is still being tested.

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But several countries across the state have already rolled out the program, including three counties that used it in prior elections. Another dozen of the state’s 64 counties, piloted TXT2Cure during the June primaries this summer.

“I think what this new system does is make sure we don’t proportionally make it harder for some groups or individuals, young people namely,” Griswold said. “It also gives more insight and transparency into the system.”

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