Election 2020: Arapahoe County mail-ballot total may top county's 2016 overall vote count

County not seeing voter intimidation reports as tense election unfolds

Ellis Arnold
earnold@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 11/3/20

The number of mail ballots received in Arapahoe County as of about 3 p.m. on Election Day nearly topped the county's total number of votes — mailed and in person — from the 2016 general …

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Election 2020: Arapahoe County mail-ballot total may top county's 2016 overall vote count

County not seeing voter intimidation reports as tense election unfolds

Posted

The number of mail ballots received in Arapahoe County as of about 3 p.m. on Election Day nearly topped the county's total number of votes — mailed and in person — from the 2016 general election, and the count appeared on track to keep growing.

Roughly 308,000 mail ballots had rolled in as of the afternoon of Nov. 3, according to county elections director Peg Perl. In 2016, the county's total number of mailed and in-person votes was about 312,900.

In-person voting totaled about 20,000 ballots as of about 3 p.m., according to Perl.

Voter intimidation not a problem, official says

Since voting locations opened on Oct. 19 in Arapahoe County, county officials haven't reported observing voter intimidation despite the tension surrounding the presidential election, Perl said.

"Yesterday, we did have a couple folks at our (Littleton) administration building that some voters were feeling intimidated by, so we did have law enforcement talk with them and they did end up leaving," Perl said.

Two men, one armed, who filmed voters dropping off ballots in Littleton on Nov. 2 were not cited by police, according to city and county officials.

The men, whose names were not immediately available, drew the attention of county staff as they filmed voters dropping off ballots outside the Arapahoe County administration building on South Prince Street, said county spokesperson Luc Hatlestad. One of the men was carrying a holstered handgun and wearing a “tactical” vest, Hatlestad said.

“Our staff asked them what was going on, and someone inside the building called police,” Hatlestad said.

Colorado law makes it illegal “to impede, prevent, or otherwise interfere with the free exercise of the elective franchise of any elector.”

Police are not aware of the men speaking to any voters or stopping any voters from dropping off their ballots, according to Cmdr. Trent Cooper, Littleton Police Department spokesman.

Police did not ask the men to leave, Cooper said, though they eventually left on their own after about an hour.

"That's the first incident like that that we’ve encountered" since in-person voting began on Oct. 19, Perl said.

There have been some complaints about whether electioneering, or showing support for a campaign,  is too close to the 100-foot radius from a polling location, the zone where electionneering is not allowed — but nothing in terms of "harassment of voters or stopping them from voting," Perl said.

Shedding light on a bipartisan process

Many people both on Election Day and the day before came to the Arapahoe County Elections Warehouse on South Federal Boulevard and West Belleview in Littleton, Perl said.

"Poll watchers from both political parties (come) through and learn about the bipartisan processs" of checking ballot signatures and carrying out other ballot-processing activities, Perl said. "Everybody had learned a lot and seemed to be pretty happy with the process we have in Colorado being bipartisan and fair and secure."

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