Nov 18, 2022 - News

Why counting Denver ballots is taking so long

An election judge sorts ballots during the counting process in June 2020 in Denver. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

If you're wondering what's taking Denver so long to finish counting ballots, you're not alone.

Driving the news: Well over a week after Election Day, the city's election officials are scrambling to finish counting ballots to meet Friday's deadline, which applies to all county clerks in the state.

What they're saying: "We had 1,300 hardworking judges, so [the delay] is not a staffing issue," Denver Elections Division spokesperson Alton Dillard tells Axios Denver.

  • It's not a technology problem either, he says. In fact, the city just upgraded its equipment this year to improve signature verification and ballot scanning.

Between the lines: Two factors are largely leading to ballot-counting crunch time, Dillard says.

  • The first is that Denver residents voted at the last minute. About 53% of the roughly 287,000 ballots turned in were submitted on the Monday and Tuesday of election week.
  • The second is that the city's ballot this year was three pages — meaning about 861,000 pieces of paper needed to be processed.

What's next: The Denver Elections Division will finish ballot counting today.

  • County audit boards across Colorado have until Nov. 29 to report the results of the Risk Limiting Audit to the Secretary of State’s Office. Canvassing boards must submit the official vote abstract to the office by Nov. 30.
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