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Colorado
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State logo - Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Picture of Secretary of State Jena Griswold

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Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Colorado
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

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Colorado state seal

News Release

Media contact
303-860-6903

Betsy Hart
betsy.hart@sos.state.co.us

Steve Hurlbert
steve.hurlbert@sos.state.co.us

State of Colorado
Department of State

1700 Broadway
Suite 250
Denver, CO 80290

Jena Griswold
Secretary of State

Ian Rayder
Deputy Secretary of State

Colorado state seal

News Release

State of Colorado
Department of State

1700 Broadway
Suite 250
Denver, CO 80290

Jena Griswold
Secretary of State

Ian Rayder
Deputy Secretary of State

Media contact
303-860-6903
Betsy Hart - betsy.hart@sos.state.co.us
Steve Hurlbert - steve.hurlbert@sos.state.co.us

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold Announces TXT2Cure Program

Colorado elections are the nation’s gold standards, and Secretary Griswold is dedicated to using technology and reforms to ensure all communities can participate in safe, secure, and accessible elections.

Denver, October 7, 2020 – Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold today announced an election innovation that allows voters to fix signature discrepancies using a smart phone will be used in the upcoming general election. The new program, called TXT2Cure, is designed to reduce the number of ballots rejected due to missing or discrepant signatures, and is especially geared for younger voters who statistically have more ballots with signature discrepancies. 

“As Secretary of State, I am dedicated to doing everything in my power to make sure that every vote counts. That’s why I’m proud to announce TXT2Cure, a major innovation to ensure Colorado’s election model remains the nation's gold standard. Mail ballots have increased participation tremendously in Colorado. While our mail ballot rejection rates due to signature discrepancy are low, a disproportionate number of young people are impacted. TXT2Cure will help ensure more Colorado voices are heard.” 

Under the new program, if a voter is notified of a signature discrepancy, all they have to do is text “Colorado” to 2VOTE (28683) and click on the link they receive as a reply.  They will then enter their voter ID number printed on the rejection notice they receive from their county election office, affirm they returned a ballot for the election, sign the affidavit on their phone, take a photo of an acceptable form of ID, and select “Submit”.  The voter’s information is then electronically transmitted to their county clerk for processing during business hours. Assuming the voter completes those steps before the deadline of midnight on November 12, their ballot will be counted.  The Secretary of State’s Office was considering using TXT2Cure pending a cyber test, which has since been passed, meaning the program is ready and safe for voters to use in November.  

"Voters face disenfranchisement, and their very right to vote is at stake, when they are not given a meaningful and immediate chance to cure their ballot in the case of signature discrepancy,” said Rosemary Lytle, State President, NAACP CO-MT-WY. “TXT2Cure is a real world, real time solution and the NAACP commends the Office of the Secretary of State for moving toward this voting innovation. Cure by text will be a boon for democracy by providing another tool, especially for younger voters, to ensure that every vote counts."

Under Colorado law, if both members of a bipartisan team of election judges agree that the signature on the ballot does not match the signature in the voter’s file, they cannot accept the ballot for counting. The reply envelope is not opened and the enclosed ballot is not counted until the discrepancy is resolved. County clerks must notify a voter within three days of discovering the discrepancy, but in no event later than two days after Election Day.

Any voter who has a signature discrepancy is notified by their county clerk via U.S. mail. That notification includes an affidavit with instructions on how they can return the signed paper affidavit with a photocopy of an acceptable form of ID to their county election office. The affidavit also contains instructions for voters to use the TXT2Cure system, if they instead prefer to use their smart phones to submit the information necessary to ensure their ballots are counted.

Since Colorado adopted vote-by-mail for all, voting participation rates have increased by 9% among Colorado voters, including by 13% among black voters, 10% among latino voters, and 16% among voters 30 years old and younger.  In the 2018 General Election, .52% of all ballots cast were rejected due to signature discrepancy, but that percentage increased to over 1.80% for voters aged 18-19.  Typically younger voters have fewer signatures on file, and have signatures that are evolving. Through leveraging technology familiar to young people, TXT2Cure will help make sure these younger voters have their ballots counted. 

“The ACLU of Colorado applauds Secretary of State Griswold’s continued efforts to assure Colorado voters that their vote once cast will be counted,” said Denise Maes, Public Policy Director, ACLU Colorado. “This is critical given voter suppression efforts we’re seeing in other states. Let the people vote.”

"Young people are some of the most likely voters to need signature verification or ballot curing because they often don't have many signatures on file,” said Nicole Hensel, Executive Director of New Era Colorado.  “The Secretary's new TXT2Cure system will make signature verification and ballot curing options more accessible to young people, who often do not have the printers, scanners, and mailing supplies to cure their ballots in the traditional way and are voting for the first time. During a pandemic, this system will allow us to support more young people in making sure their voices are heard through their vote."

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office closely monitors rejection rates in each of Colorado’s 64 counties and has contacted every county in the state with a signature verification rejection rate higher than 1% in the past two elections to let them know that their rate of rejection is substantially higher than the state average.  Colorado has the lowest signature rejection rate of any state that has vote by mail for all, and Colorado’s average signature verification rejection rates have gone down each election.

TXT2Cure follows a statewide ballot tracking initiative that the Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced making it easier for voters across the state to follow their ballot from when it’s sent to when it’s processed and accepted.  BallotTrax and TXT2Cure are independent technologies that complement each other. Unlike BallotTrax, voters cannot and do not need to enroll in TXT2Cure in advance – any non-confidential voter whose ballot is rejected for a signature discrepancy or missing signature may use the TXT2Cure system. A voter whose ballot has been initially rejected by county election judges will not receive an “accepted ballot” notice from BallotTrax until the voter cures the signature discrepancy.

Three counties used TXT2Cure in prior elections, and sixteen others piloted the TXT2Cure system during the June 30 Primary Election. All 64 counties will use the TXT2Cure system during the 2020 General Election.

For more information, please visit www.GoVoteColorado.gov