How to make sure your vote counts this election

Mail-in ballots are pretty simple to figure out but there's always room for error. FOX21 talked to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office about how you can make sure your vote counts./ Taylor Bishop -- FOX21 News
Mail-in ballots are pretty simple to figure out but there's always room for error. FOX21 talked to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office about how you can make sure your vote counts./ Taylor Bishop -- FOX21 News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — We’re a little over a week away from Election Day. If you’re mailing in your ballot, it needs to be sent before Wednesday. You can also slip it into a drop box until 7 p.m. on November 8.

Mail-in ballots are pretty simple to figure out, but there’s always room for error. FOX21 talked to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office about how you can make sure your vote counts.

“If somebody votes for the wrong candidate, you have a couple different steps where you can fix that,” Ryan Parsell, chief deputy for the clerk and recorder, said. “Put an X through that vote and write off to the side that you didn’t mean to cast a vote for that person and then vote for the person that you wanted to cast a vote for.”

Or if you’d feel more comfortable, you could even get a fresh ballot. Just go to a polling center and you’ll be able to get a replacement.

If there’s an item you really don’t know or couldn’t care less about, that’s fine.

“For whatever reason somebody feels like they want to skip a race on their ballot, we’ll be able to count everything else that is marked on the ballot,” said Parsell.

The only way your vote won’t count is if you forget to sign your ballot envelope or your signature and printed name don’t match.

“That signature portion on the return envelope is there for us to do a major security step in the process which is to make sure that the person who submitted the ballot is the person that should have,” Parsell said. “So if the signatures match, we know that the correct person voted that ballot and we can send it through the counting process.”

Parsell said after every election, there are instances where the Clerk and Recorder’s Office turns ballots over to the District Attorney for investigation. He said although it’s rare, prosecutions have been made for voter fraud.

“El Paso County has a lot of good safeguards in place and that I can say with 100 percent confidence that your vote will be counted the way that you intend it to count,” said Parsell.

When it comes to polling centers, Parsell said the machines are checked before and after every election to verify they’re reading everything correctly. He said the polling machines are all secure and they do not connect to the internet, so exposure to hacking isn’t possible.

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