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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 Highlights Election Results Reporting Process

Denver, October 30, 2020 – Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold today highlighted the process of counting ballots and reporting results, including how and when ballots are counted and when to expect unofficial results reporting on Election Night. While counties began to process ballots before Election Day, initial results will not be reported until after polls close at 7 p.m. on November 3. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office expects to have approximately 70-80% of ballots counted on Election Night. Coloradans should refer to trusted sources of information like GoVoteColorado.gov or their county clerk’s site for results reporting.

“In Colorado, county clerks process ballots prior to election day, which enables a high percentage of results to be reported on Election Night. But Election Night results are never final results,” said Secretary Griswold.  “In the days after Election Day, military and oversees voters return their ballots, signature discrepancies can be fixed, and a risk-limiting audit is conducted to determine statistical confidence in the results.  Like any election, there is quite a bit of activity after Election Day.”

In Colorado, results are not reported based on how ballots are cast. For example, ballots cast in-person are not reported separately or before ballots returned by mail or drop box. However, as counties can start reviewing signatures once ballots are received and begin processing ballots for scanning 15 days before Election Day, early, in-person and mail ballots received before Election Day will likely be scanned prior to in-person and mail ballots received on Election Day.

In past elections, Colorado has been able to provide over 75% of results on Election Night. However, that percentage may be impacted by the unique circumstances surrounding this year’s election and high turnout. The biggest variable impacting when results will be reported is the number of Coloradans who vote (either early in-person or return their mail ballot via mail, drop box or in person) in advance of Election Day relative to those who return their ballot or vote in-person on Election Day. The more ballots cast before Election Day, the faster ballots can be processed, and the higher percentage can be reported on Election Night. As of Thursday night, 2,279,059 ballots had been returned to county clerks, 79.8% of the total turnout in the 2016 General Election. 

Counties will have had 15 days prior to Election Day to scan ballots, though tabulated results are not made public until after 7 p.m. on Election Day. When polls officially close at 7 p.m., counties will begin uploading results to the state’s centralized Election Night Reporting system, and to the contingency election results site.  Those results are then posted on various pages on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, including the home page and www.GoVoteColorado.gov.  Counties may post results to their websites, but are not required to do so. Note that if a court extends polling hours in any county, results will not be posted by the Secretary of State’s Office until polls are closed in every county.

As counties continue to upload results periodically through the night, you can track progress by referencing the color-coded status that are used in the “counties reporting” map to indicate at what point they are in the process.  Yellow indicates that a county has reported results at least once, and as they continue to tabulate ballots, they will update results periodically throughout the night. Lavender means that a county has stopped tabulating for Election Night, but does not indicate that all ballots have been tabulated, as they will continue to update results in the following days. Green indicates that all eligible ballots have been tabulated, and dark orange indicates results have been certified as official.

After Election Day, voters in Colorado have a cure period to fix issues with their ballots, including discrepant signatures. Typically, voters would have eight days after the election to cure their ballots but this year they have nine days this year due to Veterans Day falling on November 11.  That means that cures and mailed military and overseas ballots are due by November 12. Counties will then have until November 13 to process cured ballots and overseas and military voter ballots. Following the cure period, the Secretary of State’s Office will oversee the state’s risk-limiting audit, which provides a high level of statistical confidence in the results of the election. Should they be necessary, recounts may also occur in the weeks following the election. Results will be certified as official on November 30, except in the case of recounts where specific races may not be finalized until mid-December.

For the presidential contest, the Electoral College will meet on December 14.

For more information on election dates and deadlines, please visit www.GoVoteColorado.gov