MESA COUNTY, Colo.- At last week’s presidential debate, President Trump encouraged his supporters “go into the polls and watch very carefully,” for voter fraud.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser responded and said his office will prosecute anyone who takes it upon themselves to independently monitor polls or intimidate voters.
In Colorado, there are already legal routes citizens can take from both sides of the political aisle to get involved in overseeing elections.
Ballots will be sent out to coloradans beginning Oct 9th. Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters explains what Election Day security will look like at ballot drop boxes and polling centers.
“It’s against the law to come within 100 feet of a voting place, it’s called electioneering,” Peters said. “If they’re trying to put their views or have signs or things like that for one party or the other.”
Colorado has bipartisan teams of election judges that pick up ballots from ballot drop boxes along with election watchers appointed by local political parties. Election watchers have to undergo strict training by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office and are tasked with observing all activity at polling centers and county election offices on election day for transparency.
“Its been vetted very carefully, we have poll watchers, we have judges,” said Scott Beilfuss, a democrat candidate for State House District 55. “They went through some training this week already and I haven’t heard of any concerns.”
Beilfuss is running for State House District 55 which makes up most of Grand Junction. He’s also very involved with the Mesa County Democrats, and says historically people who apply to be election watchers take the job very seriously.
“It’s very transparent, there’s a lot of people that are interested and apply,” Beilfuss said. “There’s a lot of people that are repeats and we have a lot of professional people that do it: former CPAs, judges, medical people.”
Tina Peters says any electioneering or voter intimidation within the immediate vicinity of a polling location or ballot drop box will not be tolerated. She says her office is in contact with law enforcement, who are ready to respond to instances of voter intimidation on Election Day, although Peters says she is not anticipating any problems. Peters emphasizes the bipartisan oversight of Colorado elections, especially from the moment you mail your ballot or drop it off in a ballot box, to the moment it’s counted.
“Once a person deposits their ballot from then on out it’s always under the watchful eye of a democrat and a republican, a bipartisan team.”