DENVER -- Vote early, vote often is an election joke, but almost a possibility for a Colorado voter who received multiple ballots.
"I have two ballots, yes sir, I do," said Denver voter Teresa Hailey. "I knew that I could not vote both of these ballots. I didn't know which one to vote."
Hailey, who lives in the Montbello neighborhood, said she received her first ballot at her home on Oct. 17. Three days later, she received a second ballot at her P.O. Box address.
"This is a very important election for me. Dr. King and others died to give me a right to vote. I want to cast my vote, and I want to make sure that my vote counts," said Hailey. "What was a concern of mine? is this an isolated issue or are many people receiving two ballots?"
"In our first batch, we mailed more than 380,000 of those ballots, and this is the first call of this sort that we've gotten," said Denver Elections Spokesman Alton Dillard.
Denver Elections checked the timeline for us and found out what happened that caused Hailey to receive two ballots.
"Because of a late change to her voter registration, where she was asking for a ballot to be sent to a post office box instead of her physical address, it triggered, what's called, a 'replacement ballot,'" said Dillard.
- Sept. 12: Hailey printed and turned in a change of address form
- Sept. 21: Denver Elections finalized and printed the envelopes with voter's name and addresses, making the ballots ready to be mailed
- Sept. 28: Denver Elections processed Hailey's change of address, triggering a new envelope/ballot to be printed
- Oct. 17: Hailey receives the Sept. 21 envelope and ballot sent to her original home address
- Oct. 20: Hailey receives the Sept. 28 envelope and ballot sent to her new P.O. Box address
"The first ballot is voided and the second one is counted," said Dillard.
Hailey said she called Denver 311 to get answers herself. She also said she tried 720-913-VOTE. She told Denver7 that she did not get the help she was seeking over the phone.
"I called them, not once, but a total of four times," said Hailey.
Denver7 checked with Denver Elections and confirmed two phone calls received from Hailey, but there was no record of the one call that bothered her the most.
"The reason I remember this call is because 'The Bold and the Beautiful' comes on at 12:30 p.m. I was sitting watching 'Bold and the Beautiful' while I was listening to the music. I really forgot I was on hold, but I could still hear the background music. [I] looked at my watch, [saw] it is now 1 p.m. and I am still on hold," said Hailey.
"We have not had any lengthy holds that we're aware of," said Dillard. "Average wait time is actually less than 30 seconds. We stand by our customer service. We're actually a model agency for our customer service."
He said the two calls they had records for showed Hailey on hold for 15 seconds each. The elections office has 21 call takers ready throughout the day, with the ability to pull more staffers into the phone queue.
"I'm taking this election very seriously. This is a very important election for me, and I want to make sure that my vote counts," said Hailey.
She now knows which of her ballots are voided and which one is still active. Had she filled out both ballots, the first one received would have counted, and then her name and ballots would have been forwarded to the district attorney for a potential voter fraud investigation.
Had she filled out the voided ballot and trashed the good ballot, it would have still counted. Once the election ballots were processed at the end of Election Night, if the voided ballot was turned in, it still would have counted since the replacement ballot was never turned in.
In Denver, you can text questions to the election office. You will get a live response Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Text your questions to: 303-653-9668. Auto-response keywords will get an immediate response 24-hours a day:
- VSPC: Sends link to interactive map of all ballot boxes and VSPC’s
- Sample: Sends link to sample ballot
- TABOR: Sends link to the TABOR booklet
- EJ: Sends link to election judge interest form
- Register: Sends link to state registration siteGoVoteColorado.com
- TRACE: Sends link to mobile optimized Ballot TRACE
- Results: Sends link to our mobile optimized results page