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Colorado's Mail In Voting System Defended As Primary Nears

DENVER (CBS4) - With one week left to cast your ballot in Colorado's June 30 Primary, Sen. Michael Bennet took to Twitter to refute President Trump and defend the state's esteemed vote-by-mail system.

Colorado has become a model for other states hoping to improve voter turnout.

"The top states for turnout all mailed a ballot to every elector. Montana actually tops the list in terms of all the primaries that have happened to date. Voters of all political stripes vote this way, so this misinformation and disinformation hurts voter confidence. And it's really not necessary," said Amber McReynolds the National Vote at Home Institute's Chief Executive Officer. "The pandemic spun up and really exposed the real vulnerabilities in many states reliance on in-person voting. One of the big gaps that we're seeing around the country right now is a lack of poll workers and election judges and a lack of polling locations."

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McReynolds ran elections in Denver for 13 years and was in charge when Colorado started mailing ballots to every registered voter in 2013. She's now helping other states implement similar systems.

"Colorado has proven there's a really good system in place, there's great best practices that we can replicate. The key is safe in-person voting options coupled with vote at home options that are accessible to all voters," McReynolds said.

But she believes there are some ways Colorado should keep evolving like helping military and overseas voters not rely on mail, and modernizing the petition process. She also wants to see Colorado tweak the mail ballots.

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"They don't pay postage right now. They don't have postmark acceptance. There are people that need to return their ballot by mail, that live farther out or just need that option. I think we need to just think about what some of our neighboring states are doing on that topic because there might be some opportunities to enhance what Colorado is doing," McReynolds said.

As the November election gets closer, there's growing concern for how states reliant on in-person voting will keep people safe and out of long lines.

"In the first CARES Act they only allocated $400 million for 50 states, 7,000 jurisdictions and 250 million Americans to vote. By contrast, the airline industry got a $60 billion loan program. Congress, I think, didn't prioritize elections the way they needed to early on," McReynolds said. "Congress still needs to act and to provide and fill in some of that gap that exists in terms of the budget issues."

Monday was the last day to request a mail-in ballot and the last day to send a ballot by mail. You can return your ballot to a drop box.

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