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|Voting Centers Explained
Larimer County was a pioneer under Scott Doyle's
leadership in establishing the voting center model to
increase early voting and decrease the number of
provisional ballots cast in any election.
The voting center model essentially eliminates the
traditional system of designating a polling place in each
precinct during elections where voters can only cast their
ballot within their own precinct.
Relying more heavily on mail and early voting in local
elections, the “Voting Center Model” did away with the
hundreds of election precincts throughout Larimer County
and instead created generic voting centers where anyone
can vote at any center throughout the county. Unlike
traditional elections, anyone could vote early, drop-off their
mail-in ballot or vote at any center throughout the county
instead of only at their precinct on election day.
One advantage for county elections officials is the number
of provisional ballots decreases. This is because any
registered voter may vote at any center. In the traditional
system each voter was required to know their precinct's
voting place and cast their ballot at that single location. If
they mistakenly arrived at another voting location, their
ballot could only be cast provisionally since traditional
precinct voting stations would only record the votes of those
located inside their own precinct.
Once the provisional ballot arrives at the county election
headquarters, that provisional ballot could be cast after
verifying they didn't vote within their own precinct thus
creating more work. Under the voting center model, each
voter's identification and eligibility to vote can be verified at
any center where they cast their ballot. Because the vote
center model uses a linked database, the same voter
would be unable to vote again at another center since the
computer will show the election worker that citizens has
already voted somewhere else.
Critics of the system say that it undermines the traditional
system of voting by removing the "public" nature of how
votes are collected and counted. In other words, neighbors
wouldn't know if the other voted or when and the custody of
the ballots from any one precinct cannot be accounted for
by single group of volunteers.
In other words, a fraudulent act like ballot box stuffing by
precinct volunteers could be isolated to one precinct and
those ballots not counted in the total vote count. In the
current system, a breach of security in any one voting center
could slightly alter the vote count across hundreds of
precincts making it more difficult to detect and impossible
to remove from the final election results.
Lastly, the voting center model requires an excess number
of ballots be printed since every precinct may have a
different number of candidates and ballot measures
depending upon the specific city ward, taxing district and
school district it is within. That means every voting center
must stock ballots for every precinct in the county resulting
in a much larger number of ballot being printed than people
eligible to vote which could be a temptation for mischief.
Larimer County Clerk & Recorder