In Colorado, Trump suggests mail ballots will be thrown out

How Trump imagines elections workers: “Oh, here’s a ballot, here’s another ballot, throw it away. Oh, here’s one I like, we’ll keep that one.”

Donald Trump Rally. July 29, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)donald trump; politics; election; vote; denver; colorado; republican; denverite; kevinjbeaty

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Saturday he doesn’t care for Colorado’s mail elections and suggested ballots that elections workers don’t like might be thrown out.

Trump held a rally at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds on Saturday. He’s in Greeley on Sunday.

Here’s the quote:

“I have real problems with the ballots being sent. Does that make sense? Like people say, ‘Oh, here’s a ballot, here’s another ballot, throw it away. Oh, here’s one I like, we’ll keep that one.’ I have real problems so get your ballots in. We’re trying to get some pretty good supervision out there. We have a lot of people watching you people that collect the ballots.”

(I was denied credentials for this event, but I watched the speech via ABC7’s live feed. Thanks, Channel 7!)

Colorado’s elections are mostly run at the county level, where elected clerks are a mix of Democrats and Republicans. Regardless of the party affiliation of the person at the top, each county has bipartisan teams of judges who verify signatures and process ballots. That is, Republicans and Democrats are standing side by side watching each other and the ballots at every step in the process.

Denver Elections invited media to observe this process just Friday.

Democrats were much more supportive of moving to mail elections, but as the Associated Press’ Nick Riccardi observed, many Democrats thought mail ballots actually helped Republicans after Sen. Cory Gardner unseated incumbent Mark Udall in 2014.

Lynn Bartels, a spokeswoman for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams (a Republican), was beside herself.

The Secretary of State’s Office releases information every morning on how many ballots have been returned so far. Democrats have the lead in early returns. As of Friday morning, 269,066 registered Democrats had turned in their ballots, making up 38.5 percent of ballots returned so far. Republicans had returned 241,750 ballots or 34.6 percent of the total, and unaffiliated voters had returned 177,225 or 25.4 percent of the total.

The 697,414 people who have voted so far represent almost 19 percent of registered voters. You can register and vote in Colorado up to 7 p.m. on Nov. 8, but Monday is the last day to register and still get a ballot in the mail.

Anyone who wants to vote in person can do so at a voter service center. You can find a map of Denver’s polling places here.

Denver also has a service called Ballot Trace that lets you follow your ballot like a UPS package.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.