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1-7.5-107.3. Verification of signatures – rules

Statute

(1) (a) Except as provided in subsection (5) of this section, in every mail ballot election that is coordinated with or conducted by the county clerk and recorder, an election judge shall compare the signature on the self-affirmation on each return envelope with the signature of the eligible elector stored in the statewide voter registration system in accordance with subsections (2), (3), and (4) of this section.

(b) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2008, p. 356, 2, effective April 10, 2008.)

(2) (a) If, upon comparing the signature of an eligible elector on the self-affirmation on the return envelope with the signature of the eligible elector stored in the statewide voter registration system, the election judge determines that the signatures do not match, or if a signature verification device used pursuant to subsection (5) of this section is unable to determine that the signatures match, two other election judges of different political party affiliations shall simultaneously compare the signatures. If both other election judges agree that the signatures do not match, the county clerk and recorder shall, within three days after the signature deficiency has been confirmed, but in no event later than two days after election day, send to the eligible elector at the address indicated in the registration records a letter explaining the discrepancy in signatures and a form for the eligible elector to confirm that the elector returned a ballot to the county clerk and recorder. If the county clerk and recorder receives the form within eight days after election day confirming that the elector returned a ballot to the county clerk and recorder and enclosing a copy of the elector’s identification as defined in section 1-1-104 (19.5), and if the ballot is otherwise valid, the ballot shall be counted. If the eligible elector returns the form indicating that the elector did not return a ballot to the county clerk and recorder, or if the eligible elector does not return the form within eight days after election day, the self-affirmation on the return envelope shall be categorized as incorrect, the ballot shall not be counted, and the county clerk and recorder shall send copies of the eligible elector’s signature on the return envelope and the signature stored in the statewide voter registration system to the district attorney for investigation.

(b) An original return envelope with an enclosed secrecy envelope containing a voted ballot that is not counted in accordance with paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) shall be stored under seal in the office of the county clerk and recorder in a secure location separate from valid return envelopes and may be removed only under the authority of the district attorney or by order of a court having jurisdiction.

(c) In the case of a disagreement among the election judges as to whether the signature of an eligible elector on the self-affirmation on the return envelope matches the signature of the eligible elector stored in the statewide voter registration system pursuant to the procedures specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection (2), the signatures are deemed to match, and the election judge shall follow the procedures specified in section 1-7.5-107 (6) concerning the qualification and counting of mail ballots.

(3) If the election judge determines that the signature of an eligible elector on the self-affirmation matches the elector’s signature stored in the statewide voter registration system, the election judge shall follow the procedures specified in section 1-7.5-107 (6) concerning the qualification and counting of mail ballots.

(4) (a) An election judge shall not determine that the signature of an eligible elector on the self-affirmation does not match the signature of that eligible elector stored in the statewide voter registration system solely on the basis of substitution of initials or use of a common nickname.

(b) The county clerk and recorder shall provide training in the technique and standards of signature comparison to election judges who compare signatures pursuant to this section.

(5) (a) A county clerk and recorder may allow an election judge to use a signature verification device to compare the signature on the self-affirmation on a return envelope of an eligible elector’s ballot with the signature of the elector stored in the statewide voter registration system in accordance with this subsection (5) and any rules promulgated by the secretary of state pursuant to subsection (6) of this section.

(b) If a signature verification device determines that the signature on the self-affirmation on a return envelope of an eligible elector’s ballot matches the signature of the elector stored in the statewide voter registration system, the signature on the self-affirmation is deemed verified, and the election judge shall follow the procedures specified in section 1-7.5-107 (6)concerning the qualification and counting of mail ballots. If a signature verification device is unable to determine that the signature on the self-affirmation on a return envelope of an eligible elector’s mail ballot matches the signature of the elector stored in the statewide voter registration system, an election judge shall compare the signatures in accordance with subsections (2), (3), and (4) of this section.

(6) The secretary of state shall adopt rules in accordance with article 4 of title 24, C.R.S., establishing procedures for using signature verification devices to process ballots used in mail ballot elections pursuant to this article.

 

Source: L. 2003: Entire section added, p. 1280, § 7, effective April 22; entire section added, p. 1438, § 2, effective April 29.L. 2004: (2)(c) amended, p. 1186, § 3, effective August 4.L. 2005: (2)(a) amended, p. 1411, § 29, effective June 6; (2)(a) amended, p. 1446, § 29, effective June 6.L. 2008: (1), (2)(a), (2)(c), (3), and (4)(a) amended and (5) added, p. 356, § 2, effective April 10.L. 2009: (2)(a) amended, (HB 09-1337), ch. 262, p. 1201, § 2, effective August 5.L. 2010: Entire section amended, (HB 10-1116), ch. 194, p. 835, § 21, effective May 5.L. 2013: (4)(b) and (5)(a) amended and (6) added, (HB 13-1303), ch. 185, p. 733, § 88, effective May 10.L. 2014: (4)(b) amended, (SB 14-161), ch. 160, p. 564, § 18, effective May 9.

 

Editor’s note: Amendments to this section by House Bill 03-1241 and Senate Bill 03-102 were harmonized.

Cross references: In 2013, subsections (4)(b) and (5)(a) were amended and subsection (6) was added by the “Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act”. For the short title and the legislative declaration, see sections 1 and 2 of chapter 185, Session Laws of Colorado 2013.

Annotation: October 5, 2016 9:50 pm

Colorado sends a notification to voters and allows them to rectify any discrepancy in the event

Annotation: 9:52 pm

Colorado sends a notification to voters and allows them to rectify the discrepancy in the event signature on return envelope does not match that in voter registration system.

Annotation: 9:57 pm

Colorado sends a notification to voters and allows them to rectify the discrepancy in the event signature on return envelope does not match signature in voter registration system.

Definition [Election day]

The date either established by law or determined by the governing body of the political subdivision conducting the election, to be the final day on which all ballots are determined to be due, and the date from which all other dates in this article are set.C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [Return envelope]

An envelope that is printed with spaces for the name and address of, and a self-affirmation to be signed by, an eligible elector voting in a mail ballot election, that contains a secrecy envelope and ballot for the elector, and that is designed to allow election officials, upon examining the signature, name, and address on the outside of the envelope, to determine whether the enclosed ballot is being submitted by an eligible elector who has not previously voted in that particular election. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [Political party]

Any group of registered electors who, by petition or assembly, nominate candidates for the official general election ballot. “Political party” includes affiliated party organizations at the state, county, and election district levels, and all such affiliates are considered to be a single entity for the purposes of this article, except as otherwise provided in section 7. Section 2(13) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Definition [Secrecy envelope]

The envelope or sleeve used for a mail ballot election that contains the eligible elector’s ballot for the election, and that is designed to conceal and maintain the confidentiality of the elector’s vote until the counting of votes for that particular election. C.R.S. § 1-5-103.

Definition [Mail ballot election]

An election for which eligible electors receive ballots by mail and vote by mailing those ballots, depositing the ballots at, as applicable, drop-off locations or voter service and polling centers, or, as applicable, by voting at a voter service and polling center. The term does not include an independent mail ballot election. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.

Definition [Ballot]

(a) A federal write-in absentee ballot;

(b) A ballot specifically prepared or distributed for use by a covered voter in accordance with this article; or

(c) A ballot cast by a covered voter in accordance with this article.

(2) “Covered voter” means:

(a) A uniformed-service voter defined in paragraph (a) of subsection (9) of this section who is a resident of this state but who is absent from this state by reason of active duty and who otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;

(b) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, was last eligible to vote in this state and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;

(c) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, would have been last eligible to vote in this state had the voter then been of voting age and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements; or

(d) An overseas voter who was born outside the United States, is not described in paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection (2), and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements if the last place where a parent, legal guardian, spouse, or civil union partner of the voter was, or under this article would have been, eligible to vote before leaving the United States is within this state.

C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.

Definition [Election]

Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [Secretary]

The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.

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