Denver voters have begun to receive emails and text messages welcoming them to Colorado BallotTrax.
Welcome to what? Surely spam, right? Don’t hit delete yet!
The email, sent by the company BallotTrax at the request of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, is legit, explained Alton Dillard, spokesperson for the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s office. BallotTrax is the county’s new election notification system — the same one Colorado’s 63 other counties have been using since 2020.
Other states, including California, Utah, Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina use the system, and many counties in other states do as well. BallotTrax is based in Denver.
The Denver Elections Division will be adopting BallotTrax for at least one year, as the county tries it out in a pilot program.
Around a decade ago, Denver was the first county in the country to embrace a voter notification system, Dillard said.
In 2008, the county offered an online ballot tracking system, where voters could see whether their ballots had been counted. That proved to be a poor solution, because data lagged and it was tough to use. Then the city used TrackMyVote, a mail tracking product from TrackMyMail.com, but only election officials — not voters — had access to the information.
Eventually, the county worked with a Denver-based software company, which developed a software that would use technology to track the ballots and send the information to both election officials and voters, according to a 2010 presentation from former Denver Elections Division Director Michael J. Scarpello.
That program, BallotTRACE, was beta-tested in ’09 and officially approved in 2010 — a full decade before current Secretary of State Jena Griswold created a similar statewide system in an effort to ensure greater voter transparency.
Why change what’s working in Denver?
“While Denver voters have been using our revolutionary BallotTRACE program for years, we are excited to join this pilot to make ballot tracking a truly statewide program through BallotTrax,” Denver Clerk and Recorder Paul López said in a statement. “We know that voters are better served when they are better informed, and this move will do exactly that by creating a uniform process statewide.”
For voters who are obsessed with the old BallotTRACE system, they will see a few changes with BallotTrax, but the basics should be the same. The new system will let you know when your ballot is mailed out and when it’s received.