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Citizen Engagement

Douglas County Elections provides the following core services to the community:


  • Voter Registration
  • Voter Education and Outreach
  • Precincting and Boundaries
  • Conducting Elections

Each step in the Conduct of Elections is explained here. Signs are posted throughout the Douglas County Elections office to identify the corresponding ballot processing area:

Ballot Receiving

Teams of election judges representing different political affiliations round up all ballots from the county’s mail, drop box, and polling center locations and securely transport them to the Douglas County Elections office in locked and logged ballot transport bags. Ballot packets (a voted ballot enclosed in its official return envelope) are removed from the secure bags in the access-controlled receiving area by election judges of different political affiliations who once again verify the chain of custody log and prepare the ballot packets for sorting.

Envelope Sorting

Batches of envelopes containing ballots are run through the Agilis Ballot Scanning and Sorting System which:

Signature Verification

The Agilis Ballot Scanning and Sorting System takes a picture of the voter signature from the outer envelope of the ballot packet and compares it with the signature on file with the Colorado Secretary of State. The image is analyzed using Automatic Signature Recognition (ASR) computer software that examines 32 different points and is calibrated to verify around 40% of the signatures on returned ballot packets. The image of any signature not verified by ASR is sent to a computer station to be analyzed by election judges before the ballot can be processed. Signature verification training for election judges is provided by the Secretary of State online and is facilitated by Douglas County Elections staff members.

Ballot Removal

Ballots are removed from envelopes by teams of election judges representing different political affiliations. One judge separates each ballot from its envelope and deals the ballot to the other judge. This process ensures that the voted ballot remains confidential and cannot be associated with the voter signature on the envelope. The receiving judge unfolds, smooths, stacks, shuffles, and counts the ballots to prepare them to be scanned. The separated ballot return envelopes are sealed and stored in a secure room for a period of 25 months as required by statute, before they are destroyed.

Ballot Scanning

Ballots are taken to a secure room and scanned into a server which resides on a closed computer network that is not internet accessible. The encrypted ballot information is stored until the polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day. After ballots have been scanned, they are sealed and stored in a secure room for a period of 25 months as required by statute, before they are destroyed.

Ballot Duplication

UOCAVA (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) ballots that are returned electronically, provisional ballots that are accepted, emergency ballots, ADA ballots, statewide ballots, and damaged ballots are duplicated by a team of election judges to create a paper ballot that is acceptable for scanning. One judge reads the voted ballot information and one judge enters the information. All information is cross-checked by the team before the duplicated ballot is printed, scanned, and then verified by a second team of election judges.

Ballot Evaluation

Ballot packets (a voted ballot enclosed in its official return envelope) that require evaluation are reviewed by teams of election judges representing different political affiliations who have received advanced training. These are ballot packets that have: missing envelope signatures, signatures that were rejected by the signature verification teams, any other type of signature discrepancy, are from voters who are required to provide ID with their ballot but did not, or are a provisional ballot. Election judges reference the voter’s registration record to evaluate each ballot packet. A letter is sent to any voter whose ballot packet requires additional action (signature verification, provide ID) before the ballot can be counted.

Ballot Resolution

If a ballot is damaged, has stray marks, corrections, or indicates a write-in candidate, a bipartisan team of Election Judges uses high-resolution ClearCount ballot imaging software and the Voter Intent Guide produced by the Office of the Secretary of State to resolve the ballot.

Ballot Tabulation

After the polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day, the tabulation of scanned ballots is initiated. The first rounds of unofficial results that are reported include all ballots returned and processed during early voting. Counties must produce unofficial election results a minimum of three times on election night: after the polls close but no later than 8 p.m., at or around 9 p.m., and at least one additional time on election night. Counties must report complete results to the Secretary of State no later than the 9th day after the election. The final certification of votes cast is due to the Secretary of State no later than the 22nd day after the election.

Observation Deck

An Election Watcher is an eligible voter who has been appointed by an authorized appointing entity to witness and verify the conduct of an election. Candidates, political parties, and issue committees are eligible to appoint Election Watchers depending on the type of election. To be an Election Watcher, you must: be an eligible voter in Colorado; be selected by an authorized appointing entity; and not be a candidate on the ballot nor an immediate family member by blood, marriage, or civil union to the second degree if watching for the candidate. Election Watchers do not need to be a resident of a county to watch in a particular county.

All mail ballot processing areas are under 24-hour video surveillance.

Watch the Life of a Ballot Video