In 2012, JVCEP worked closely with numerous non-profit, non-partisan organizations to promote and build civic engagement among their members. JVCEP expanded its outreach and recruitment of volunteers to assist in poll monitoring and other election administration activities leading up to Election Day 2012. JVCEP also worked closely with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law’s national Election Protection coalition, Project Vote and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
In connection with its work, JVCEP developed a “one-stop shop” website for voters, www.justvotecolorado.org, that served as a comprehensive resource linking voters to voter registration information and county specific voting information. We also recruited, trained and placed over 450 volunteers in Denver, Larimer, Weld, Boulder, Adams, Jefferson, Arapahoe, El Paso, Pueblo, Mesa, Montrose, Morgan and La Plata counties to monitor polling places and survey people about their voting experience. Problems were reported and remedied throughout the day, and polling place accessibility data was collected. In addition, JVCEP responded to more than 2,500 calls from voters to the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline and more than 250 email inquiries during the two week Early Voting period and through Election Day. On Election Day, JVCEP also staffed the Spanish 888-VE-Y-VOTA hotline. Finally, in preparing for the 2012 election cycle, Colorado Common Cause and JVCEP led a coalition of civic engagement groups in the legislative and regulatory processes involving election law and rule changes. This laid a strong foundation of collaboration and advance planning that led into the final 2012 election activities.
The problems we saw in 2012 were the same the ones we have seen over the last 10 years. They included:
- Voting by mail was confusing because voters didn’t know if they were on the permanent mail ballot list, and if they moved, they didn’t necessarily get the mail ballot they were expecting.
- Voter registration deadlines, the poor performance of the Secretary of State’s website and other issues caused some voters to be unable to vote in 2102.
- Provisional ballots were used to correct or address problems that better election administration and election reform would have eliminated.
- Broad election administration problems, including poor planning leading to long lines, inadequately trained election judges, redistricting confusion, poor polling place management and the line plagued the system.
- Despite legal requirements to the contrary, some polling places were not fully accessible to voters with disabilities.