By Jacqueline Quynh

DENVER (CBS4) – Primary Day is here in Colorado. The big race is between former Gov. John Hickenlooper and former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff to take on incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, but the party races also include seats for the U.S. House of Representatives and the state Legislature of Colorado.

With a doubt the pandemic will have a big role in this year’s turn out. Data from the Secretary of State’s Office shows that over 1 million ballots have already been returned. It could even set a new record, however there have been concerns about voting fraud amid mail-in ballots.

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Alton Dillard with the Denver Elections Division explained, there’s a very detailed and thorough process to ensure that doesn’t happen at the local level.

“After the ballots leave people’s hands, there are all kinds of security protocols in place. One thing people have to understand is that we verify every single signature on every single mail ballot. The people who handle signatures are actually trained by a forensic handwriting analyst and we also receive training through the Secretary of State’s Office,” said Dillard. “Ballots come in, they’re under 24/7 camera, they’re also moved and transported within the building in bipartisan teams. So if people want to see the process, they can go to our website, denvervotes.org/voterinfo, we have informational videos posted there and also on the Denver Elections YouTube channel.”

He also talked about how coronavirus has changed the voting process.

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“One of the things that’s changing, of course, is the safety and sanitation protocols that are in place. As you mentioned, most people are returning their ballots by mail, but we still want to be able to accommodate anyone who does choose to vote in person. You’ll also notice more space between the voting booth and voting tablets, you’ll notice that we have glass partitions between our voters and our election judges and everything is sanitized between every use all the way down to our pens and styluses ,” Dillard said.

Voters must return their ballots by 7 p.m. in order for it to count.

LINK: Where To Drop Off Your Ballot

Watch CBSN for hourly updates on the primary starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Jacqueline Quynh

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