An Arapahoe County ballot is pulled from it's envelope, Nov. 7, 2019, at the Arapahoe County Election Facility. Photo by Philip B. Poston/Sentinel Colorado

“A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can pull its boots on.”

Mark Twain usually gets credit for sharing this piece of wisdom, and despite being more than a century old, it’s all too relevant today. The misinformation, disinformation and baseless, even malicious, rumors about our elections process that persist after the 2020 General Election prove its relevance.

Joan Lopez, Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder

Colorado—a state others look up to as a model of safe, accurate and transparent mail ballot elections—is seeing its system threatened today at the state Legislature by a bill that would upend our proven system, all based on false claims of election fraud peddled and repeated since last November. 

Colorado’s system was implemented statewide in 2013 and has broad, bipartisan support.

Voters love the convenience of receiving a ballot at home, and election officials love seeing the high voter turnout the system provides, bringing our state a step closer to guaranteeing that every citizen’s voice is heard in our democracy.

County clerks conduct rigorous voting system tests and audits before and after every election to ensure equipment works properly and to confirm the numbers are correct. Election results aren’t certified until a bipartisan board carefully reviews the process and agrees that the candidate with the most votes won.

But no one reading this has to take my word for it. 

Anyone with a computer or mobile device can see all the data, audit results, canvass review and certification, and detailed information on every step of the elections process, all in one place.

Arapahoe County Elections just launched a webpage dedicated to election transparency and we invite every voter who wants to know more about our elections process to check it out. You’ll find videos that walk you through the mail ballot process from start to finish and the full 2020 bipartisan Canvass Board review of election results, as well as other resources, including:

  • A link to the post-election audits of every Colorado county from the Secretary of State’s Office
  • A video tour of the Arapahoe County Elections Facility that explains the ballot counting process in detail (we plan to resume in-person tours as soon as it’s safe to do so)
  • Redacted cast vote records, and a precinct-by-precinct breakdown of votes cast in the 2020 General Election
  • Canvass reports detailing the number of mail ballot votes, in-person votes and cured ballots
  • A full accounting of the recounts in the 18th Judicial District Attorney and District 3 County Commissioner races. 

This information has always been publicly available, now it’s centrally located for easy access. You can also learn about tracking your own ballot and other security measures that protect the integrity of our elections.

We hope providing Arapahoe County voters with this information will create a deeper understanding of what happens to ballots once they’re filled out and returned, either by mail, drop box or in-person. Having easy access to the truth about our elections process also makes it easier to recognize and call out misinformation when you see it, be it on social media or from a coworker, friend or family member. 

Stopping the spread of misinformation won’t happen overnight, and legislative attempts to restrict voting access in Colorado likely won’t succeed. But ensuring Colorado voters have trustworthy information is the best way to ensure that facts win out, and our access to the ballot is protected. 

As Ida B. Wells said more than a century ago, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

*Editor’s note: The bill Ms. Lopez references in her column has since failed in a legislative committee. 

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