Volunteer was supposed to help Aurora voter fix ballot, walked away instead. Here’s why


AURORA, Colo. — Aurora voters will know the final vote totals in the races for mayor and city council by 5 p.m.

Election Night was eight days ago, but the race for mayor and two city council seats could change based on ballots that were cured or received from overseas between last Tuesday and last night.

The gap for mayor between Mike Coffman and Omar Montgomery is now 213 votes in favor of Coffman.

On Friday night, that gap was 281 votes.

RELATED: Coffman maintains (small) lead in Aurora’s mayor race | Colorado election results 2019

This process happens in every election, but rarely gets noticed unless a race is close. Voters who failed to sign their ballot, had a signature discrepancy or an ID requirement that was not met can cure their ballot up to eight days after the election.

Those voters get notifications from the county and often visits at their door from candidates or campaigns.

If those ballots get cured, the votes on those ballots are counted.

Even though the county clerk will mail a voter a notification that there was an issue with their ballot that can still be fixed, candidates and campaigns will often get the list of ballots to be cured and visit door-to-door.

The “cure list” or “rejected list” will show which voters had ballots that were not counted. That list can include addressed, phone numbers and party affiliation.

What the list will never show is how someone voted. No one knows that except for the voter.

Candidates and campaign volunteers who go door-to-door to help a voter cure their ballot have no way of knowing for sure how that person voted.

Unless they do what was captured on Jeff Marley’s Ring doorbell on Sunday in southeast Aurora.

Volunteer: “Hi, are you Jeffrey?”

Voter: “Yes.”

Volunteer: “Hi Jeffery, my name is Kathy, I’m with the Omar Montgomery campaign and there was a problem with your ballot. Are you an Omar supporter?”

Voter: “No, I am not.”

Volunteer: “OK. Thanks a lot. Bye.”

“The fact that I’m not a supporter, and so therefore, they don’t care what I vote says that the voting process isn’t as straightforward as we think,” said voter Jeff Marley. “It’s very partisan-related, even though all the officials stated they were non-partisan. Well, it sure didn’t feel like that.”

Marley shared video of the volunteer’s door-to-door visit with Next with Kyle Clark. Even though the volunteer left without helping him cure his ballot, Marley received a letter in the mail the next day from the county with the help he needed.

“I could cure my ballot very easily by texting a message, upload a photo ID, do a signature, boom, done, very straightforward and easy,” Marley said. “I love that. What I don’t love, is I don’t like the fact that the county is giving people my address and saying that my vote wasn’t counted.”

Counties often post voter lists, like the one Marley was on, on the county website.

“I thought it was a scam,” Marley said. “I thought somebody was trying to do some fishy business or something.”

Next with Kyle Clark reached out to Montgomery’s spokeswoman Ashley Wheeland. She said the canvassers that were going door-to-door were volunteers, and not part of the campaign.

“I am looking into this. I will get back with you,” Wheeland texted.

The Arapahoe County Clerk’s Office said it would update its vote totals by 5 p.m. That would include cured ballots like Marley’s. It also includes military and overseas ballots.

Unlike voters who live in the county they vote, military members and those registered to vote locally even though they’re overseas, can postmark their ballot by Election Day. As long as those ballots are received within eight days following the election, those votes will also get counted.

That’s why the vote totals are changing, not because people are somehow allowed to vote after 7 p.m. on Election Night.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Full Episodes of Next with Kyle Clark