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Go Behind The Scenes Where Ballots Are Counted

By Andrea Flores

DENVER (CBS4)- Early voting has begun in all 64 counties across the Colorado.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams says bipartisan judges, both Democrat and Republican, are working together to make sure your vote stays safe.

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"One vote can make a difference," said Williams.

With the highest voter registration percentage, and third highest voter turnout in the country, Williams says 95 percent of Coloradans vote by mail.

As of Thursday morning, more than 572,000 voters have turned in their ballots, including almost 225,000 registered Democrats, and 196,000 registered Republicans.

CBS4's Andrea Flores interviews Sec. of State Wayne Williams (credit: CBS)

"Every vote counts the same, so no election is final until all those ballots are counted," said Williams.

In Arapahoe County, election workers are keeping tabs of each ballot the second it's received. From counting ballots, to verifying the signature they have on file, Williams says decisions voters have made are validated every step of the way.

Behind the scenes at Arapahoe County election headquarters (credit: CBS)

"If you turned in your mail ballot, you're going to be marked in the system as having voted," Williams said. If you show up to try and vote in person, we'll say, 'Ma'am, it appears you already voted,' or, 'Sir, you can't vote two times.'"

Williams says surveillance cameras and secure networks ensure safety so machines and scanners can tally your party affiliation, but won't reveal who you voted for.

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"We test before and after, for each machine, to make sure that it's counting accurately."

The Secretary of State says votes remain in the system until results are revealed with the push of a button on Election Day.

For those who plan to mail in a ballot, election officials offer reminders to have it in the mail by Nov. 1. Any ballot received after Election Day won't count.

Vote here campaign 2014 ballot
(credit: CBS)

According to state law, a postmark doesn't count. The ballot must be received by the County Clerk on or before 7 p.m. on Nov. 8 to be counted.

Voters can cast ballots early and drop it off in person on Oct. 24 or drop it off at any 24-hour drop box starting Oct. 17 through Election Day Nov. 8.

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Military members and overseas citizens have the opportunity to have their ballot counted, as long as it's received up to eight days after Election Day.


Andrea Flores is a reporter for CBS4. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @AndreaFloresTV.

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