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Vote Centers can be designed to meet a wide range of room sizes, depending on the needs of the voting population and the facilities available. In Larimer County, Vote Centers range from approximately 400 square feet to approximately 5,500 square feet.
Based on the 2004 General Election in Larimer County, our busiest Vote Center was able to process just over 3,400 voters. With record voter turnout and a rush of voters at the end of the day, even our busiest Vote Centers were able to process every voter in line by shortly after 7:00 p.m.
Vote Centers are selected with several considerations. First, facilities are located based upon their location along major thoroughfares, bus routes and areas with high visibility in the County. Second, facilities must meet the accessibility requirements mandated through the Help America Vote Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, a location would not be selected if it was not accessible to persons who require wheelchair access. Third, it is preferable that a Vote Center meets the requirements to provide live connectivity to the county electronic poll book. The site selection process is very dynamic and requires a degree of flexibility.
Yes. In Larimer County, voters have three options for voting. (1.) Voters may request a mail-in ballot. (2.) Voters may vote at Early Voting beginning two weeks prior to Election Day. (3.) Voters may cast their ballot at any Vote Center in Larimer County on Election Day.
Each Vote Center is equipped with an electronic poll book which is connected in real time to each other Vote Center through a secure, dedicated network. When a voter casts a vote at one Vote Center, his/her voter history is immediately updated at every other Vote Center in Larimer County. If he/she attempts to vote at another Vote Center, the electronic poll book will inform the election judge there that the person has already voted.
No. In Colorado, voters must still vote in the county in which they are registered. Only voters registered to vote in Larimer County may vote at a Vote Center in Larimer County. Voters registered in another county with Vote Centers still have to vote at a Vote Center in their county.
The Larimer County Elections Department conducted a wide-reaching education campaign with local media prior to switching to Vote Centers in 2003. Through mailings, the county website, radio spots and advertisements in newspapers, the county put a great deal of effort into informing the public of these site changes. The Elections Department received minimal notice of confusion on Election Day, and quickly resolved any questions as they arose. The Elections Department found the public to be very responsive during this overhaul of the county's voting system.
It is also important to remember that even precinct polling places can move from one facility to another for a number of reasons in any year. Facilities close down, change ownership or find themselves in the middle of renovation during election time. The Elections Department keeps the public informed of any changes in voting locations.
With new accessibility requirements under the Help America Vote Act of 2002, Larimer County anticipated having to use many new facilities as polling places by 2006. The county chose to be pro-active and switch to more accessible facilities prior to the law going into effect.
The public in Larimer County carried the healthy skepticism we expected. After all, we were heading in a whole new direction with this new voting system. However, on Election Day, the convenience and efficiency offered by Vote Centers resulted in an influx of positive feedback from the public as well as from our poll workers. In fact, we expect our citizens would be much more resistant to returning to what they now see as an archaic way of voting in precinct specific polling places!
Accessibility concerns are at the center of the Vote Center planning process. To make sure all persons can access Vote Centers, Larimer County seeks buildings located along bus routes and major thoroughfares for use as Vote Centers. Persons still requiring transportation are referred to local volunteers who run passenger vans on Election Day.
In addition, Larimer County actively promotes voting opportunities for persons residing in health care facilities or retirement communities. The Elections Department staff coordinates with several facilities to personally deliver mail-in ballots to their residents, providing one member from each local major political party to assist the voters and return completed ballots to the Elections Department.