Elections office: Don't let strangers collect, turn in ballots

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) -- A complete stranger comes knocking on your door talking about the presidential election, offering to take your filled out ballot and turn in it in for you.

It is something that has been happening around Mesa County.

Democratic party canvassers often offer to help get ballots in, and while it is legal, the Mesa County Elections Office is encouraging people to never give your ballot to someone you don't know or trust.

The elections office received a worried phone call on Monday from a voter.

"Someone knocked on his door that he was not familiar with, and asked if he could take his ballots back for him,” said Sheila Reiner, the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder.

This news is worrying to voters, especially with recent talk of a rigged election.

"It’s my vote, my ballot. I feel like I have the responsibility to turn it in,” said Terry Carter, a Mesa County resident. “It would make me feel uncomfortable handing that responsibility to someone I don't know.

“You don't know what they are doing – they could toss it in the trash," said Patricia Kriegh.

The Mesa County Elections Office said it is completely legal for someone to turn in others ballots for them, but they encourage voters to never give their ballot to someone they don’t know.

Marybeth Pyle, the chair of the Democratic Party said it's something they do every presidential election to help out.

"If they have filled in their ballot we offer to take it to a drop off box for them – just out of courtesy,” said Pyle. “There are some elderly who can’t get out."

Pyle said the canvassers have a safe and strategic way to handle the ballots.

"We don't help them fill out the ballot, but if it is filled out and sealed, we will deposit it for them,” said Pyle.

"By Colorado law we are able to do this. We can each only pick up 10 ballots every election season,” said Pyle. “We carefully drop them off one by one so the cameras can see we are not taking more than 10."

Kraig Andrews, the chair of the Mesa County Republican Party, said Republican Party canvassers never turn in someone’s ballot for them.

"It only takes one bad apple. We do not want to inhibit anyone's voice, anyone's ballot from being cast,” said Andrews.

Donald Trump has expressed fears of “election rigging” recently, and it’s a worry some Mesa County
Republicans echo.

"When you hand your ballot to somebody else, if you forget to seal it, that leaves it open for ballot fraud and voter fraud,” said Andrews.

The Republicans are instead offering to drive people to the polls.

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