“Ballot TRACE” to get second test in May 4 Special Vacancy Election
Innovative technology on track for full rollout in August 2010 Primary Election
The second test of Denver’s new Ballot TRACE system, a free mail ballot tracking service, will begin this week. The service is being offered to voters in the City Council District 1 Special Vacancy Election.
Voters can sign up at www.denvervotes.org to receive text messages or emails that track the progress of their mail ballot through the postal system. Voters who do not have access to a computer but do have a cell phone may sign up to receive text messages by calling 311, Denver’s centralized information and citizen assistance agency.
About 350 voters took part in the November 2009 beta test of this first-in-the-nation ballot tracking system. The May 4 Special Vacancy Election will provide an opportunity to beta test the upgrades made to the system since 2009. The full system is scheduled to be offered to all Denver voters later this year, in time for the August 10 Primary Election.
The latest improvements will allow voters to receive additional messages after they mail their ballot back, letting them know when their ballot has been received by the main Denver Post Office and is on its way back to the Denver Elections Division. In the 2009 test, ballots were not tracked between the time the voter mailed their ballot back and when the ballot was received at the Denver Elections Division.
Ballot TRACE utilizes a new bar-code technology within the postal system and a web-based software and messaging system. Feedback from voters who sign up for the optional system will be used to continually improve the program for future elections.
“It is clear to us that voters would like some assurance about the status of their mail ballots as those ballots move through the postal system. This technology gives the voter the ability to track their ballot at every stage of the process,” said Denver Clerk and Recorder Stephanie O’Malley. “We think ballot tracking technology is the wave of the future, and we hope that Council District 1 voters will help give Ballot TRACE another test drive before we launch the product to all of Denver’s voters later this year.”
Ballot TRACE does not affect voting or ballot processing in any way. It is simply an additional way of communicating with voters. It was created in a partnership between the Denver Elections Division and local software company i3logix, with the assistance of the United States Postal Service.