Hand inserting a piece of paper into a ballot box in front of the Colorado flag.

Election updates from the Kiowa County Clerk

© iStock - Niyazz
Delisa Weeks, Kiowa County Clerk and Recorder

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Chain of Custody of Ballots

County clerks process and count ballots in secure facilities with the help of bi-partisan election judges; Secretary of State staff do not count ballots. Security measures include security locks on entry points. Entrance to these areas is limited to employees and election judges who have passed background checks and all entries into these rooms must be logged.

When Colorado voters return their marked mail ballots to a standalone ballot drop box or to a ballot box in a Voter Service and Polling Center, teams of election judges from differing political affiliations collect the returned ballots and place them in transport containers sealed with tamper-evident seals that contain unique serial numbers. Similarly, teams of bipartisan election judges also process mail ballots that are received by mail from the United States Post Office.

These collection teams must maintain documented chain-of-custody of the collected ballots by making an entry in a chain-of-custody log. Each log entry includes the date, time and location of collection, the serial numbers of the affixed seals, and election judges' signatures. All seals affixed to the device or container must remain intact throughout the transportation process, which is verified by a different team of bipartisan election judges at the county's receiving location.

Once the receiving team verifies that the seals are intact and no one has tampered with the containers' contents during transport, the seals are broken and the containers opened, and the mail ballot return envelopes are received or entered into the statewide voter registration system, SCORE.

The signatures on the mail ballot return envelopes are then verified electronically or by an election judge and, if the signature is accepted, the enclosed ballot is scanned or counted. If the signature is not accepted, a team of bipartisan judges will review the signature.

Chain-of-custody is a fundamental security protection for every ballot counted, and county clerks must retain all chain-of-custody logs for 25 months after the election.

Once mail ballot envelopes containing voted ballots are received at the county central count facilities, they are processed and retained to ensure the integrity of the count.

Once separated from their return envelopes, teams of election judges from different political affiliations compile ballot batches for scanning. All scanned ballots are stored in sealed containers and maintained in the same batches and order as they were scanned.

Maintaining ballots in the same batches and order enables the bipartisan county audit boards to retrieve specific, randomly selected ballots for review during the post-election risk-limiting audit.

BallotTrax is a free service for Kiowa County Voters that allows you to track the status of your ballot online, as well as receive messages by text, phone or email when your ballot has been sent to you and received by our Elections Team. Kiowa County voters may sign up at

The Kiowa County Clerk and Recorder's Office can be reached at 719-438-5421 for voter and election questions or recording information.