Some voters in Douglas County hoping to leave their ballots in one of the county’s drop boxes on Sunday evening found an odd sight: The 24-hour ballot box was out of space.
Douglas County spokeswoman Wendy Holmes said a 24-hour ballot drop box located near a Douglas County Sherrif’s substation on Zotos Drive in Highlands Ranch was so full that observers could see ballots coming out near the opening in the box.
Holmes said elections staff was noticed the box was full at about 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The county usually collects ballots on Saturday, but not Sunday, Holmes said, which may have led to the ballot congestion. They are usually collected about five times a day.
Elections staff arrived with a free-standing ballot box sometime between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Holmes added. She said a ballot round-up team picked up the ballots inside the full drop box about 30 minutes after that.
Holmes said after learning the box was full, election staff had a deputy redirect people to another drop box about five miles away in Lone Tree. That one wasn’t as congested.
“The integrity of this process is protected by the presence of law enforcement there,” Holmes said.
Douglas County has nine 24-hour ballot drop boxes. The county is one of the state’s largest in terms of population: It has more than 224,000 total active registered voters. Monday’s voting figures show more than 100,000 ballots have already been cast in Douglas County, including 47,267 from Republicans and 22,999 from Democrats.
The Colorado Republican Party said in a brief email message on Monday they had received reports of drop boxes in Colorado too full to receive more ballots.
Colorado Republican Party spokesperson Daniel Cole said Monday the party received reports from two counties, though Cole said he couldn’t name them because he was still getting information. He said the release was issued “in an abundance of caution.”
“We want to let people know in the event they encounter a dropbox that’s full,” Cole said.
Routt County in northern Colorado experienced a similar issue to Douglas County. A staff member at the county elections office said Monday their only 24-hour drop box was full, but it was taken care of that morning. More than 8,000 ballots have already been returned there.
You can find your nearest drop box or voting center on the Secretary of State’s website.