GOTV – Plan Your Path to Voting Success
Most people don’t plan to fail, but they fail to plan. In 2016, somewhere between forty-three and forty-
nine percent of eligible voters didn’t vote! That means nearly half of the 232 million eligible voters, or
over 100 million, did not vote in 2016. It’s true! I can’t tell you how many friends, family, and
colleagues, told me that they were too busy, they forgot, they misplaced their ballot, or didn’t know
who to vote for. They failed to plan, they failed to vote and as we know, not voting is the number one
cause of unwanted presidencies.
Our country is sick, with over 200,000 dead! We can’t leave the country. The West is on fire. Civil
unrest is now the norm. Limited and slow Covid-19 stimulus response funds are hurting small business
and families and we struggle with double digit unemployment. The national debt has increased by 5.2
trillion! Now we are looking at an appointment of a new Supreme Court justice that is the antithesis of
RBG, and scarily, we may be a few steps closer to a dystopian not fiction Gilead, and red robes. So yeah,
who wouldn’t want four more years of this?
But seriously…we simply can’t let this continue and let complacency happen again. The stakes are too
high and this year many entities are working to discourage, suppress or even keep you from voting. It is
very clear why leading Democrats are asking voters to think through the logistics of voting. It is simple.
A voting plan is just deliberately thinking about how and when you will vote ahead of, or on Election
The pandemic means a lot will be different about voting this year. Add to this worry the chaos of
misinformation, intimidation and interference, and if you delay too long, you may just talk yourself out
of voting. When you make a plan, you are making a pact with yourself to not be deterred from voting,
and to carry through with a conscientious decision to cast your vote.
A 2010 study from Notre Dame along with Harvard University found that people who planned out how
they would vote, actually were more likely to vote. Like many things we intend to do…exercising,
dieting, making a will, the intention-to-action-gap can keep us from following through to success unless
we have some commitment and planning. I am sure you have heard about what paves the road to hell,
so we don’t want this election lost because of these same “good intention” bricks.
So what are the steps you need in making your voting plan?
1. Check your registration. Make sure it’s correct and that your address is correct. You don’t
want your ballot to be late or to not get to you. (As a former election judge, I can sadly attest
that this happens frequently, so be sure your address is correct. To verify address and
registration go to GoVoteColorado.gov. Check it soon in case you need to update registration or
change your address.
2. Educate yourself and be informed. Everyone needs to be an informed voter. Don’t let “I don’t
know who or what to vote for,” stop you from voting. Read your information booklet that
should be coming to you now. It may be a bit daunting this year but it is your best source of
information. You can always go to weldcountydems.org for candidate and state ballot measures, or to ballotpedia.org for information on candidates, on past performance and voting records, for endorsements, as well as ballot measures. It is very extensive and you have to navigate the site but the information is very thorough. The Colorado Democratic Party website has a helpful tool as well to find out What’s On My Ballot.
3. Prepare to vote. Consider where you are going to vote and how you will get yourself or your
ballot to the ballot box or poll. Are you going to mail it? If yes, do you know the deadlines and
requirements? Jot down who you plan to vote for and what ballot measures you plan to
support. Use your sample ballot or make your own list of how you are going to vote. Write
down any questions and call your local or state party for help or call your County Clerk’s office. The Weld County Clerk and Recorder’s phone number is (970) 304-6525 or visit their website.
Check your ballot ahead of time. Sample ballots are available to look at on line by going to the
Weld County Clerk and Recorder webpage – Elections Department, and look for sample ballot.
You will also find information on the county’s sixteen drop-box locations, as well as early-voting
poll-centers and election day polling locations in list form or by location If you are planning to mail your ballot, party officials recommend that you mail it by October 23. You may have gotten the information to mail it by the 26th, but to be safe, considering all the problems associated with mail, it is best to mail early
with first class postage.
Unlike many states Colorado tries very hard to make it easy to vote. You can register up to and
including election day, but you would have to register and vote in person. The last day to
register on-line is eight days before the election and by mail, 22 days before the election. You
will be able to drop your ballot off in 24-hour drop-box locations starting October 9th, through 7
pm Election Day, November 3. Three early voting sites will open by October 16th and eight will
be open by October 31st. On Election Day, November 3, 14 voter-service polling locations will be
open. Think about when you are going to turn in your ballot, and how you are going to get it to
the a drop box or polling center. If you need assistance, contact the Weld County Democrats’ Office at (970) 351-7047.
4. Follow instructions. It is imperative that you follow all the instructions given along with your
ballot. Be sure you mark your ballot with blue or black ink. Avoid markers as they can bleed
through and can make your choices unclear or even invalidate your choices. Be sure, and this is
most important, you must remember to sign your envelope. It cannot be opened, or processed
without your signature, and your signature is how your registration and ID is verified. If you are
an unaffiliated voter and get two ballots, you can only return one, if you return both, your vote
is nullified. You can also only return one ballot in an envelope. More than one ballot in an
envelope will also nullify your ballot. Following the rules is important.
5. Vote Early. Whatever you do, plan to vote early. Don’t take any chances. Something could
happen to you to keep you from voting, so when you get your ballot, vote as soon as you can.
This year everyone with an email known by the State is enrolled in BallotTrax, the ballot locator
and notification system. BallotTrax, by email, keeps you informed about the status of your
ballot and your vote. You may also receive information by text, but you would need to enroll
yourself at weldvotes.ballottrax.net/voter. I really can’t stress this enough. Vote early!
We must do everything we can to make sure all ballots are counted by November 3. As a former
election judge, I must say that early voting prevents so much stress and makes it easier to insure
ballots are counted in a timely manner and reduces potential problems on election day.
6. Volunteer and lead others to vote. Sign up to be a volunteer or a poll watcher or election
judge. Do what you can to get out the vote. One of the most effective means of getting out the
vote is to personally call 3 friends and encourage them to plan and vote. Tell them you are
counting on them to vote, then ask them to also pledge to call 3 other friends reminding them
to vote and to have the other friends then promise to call friends too.
We have less than 6 weeks to create a blue wave, to preserve Democracy and to make
positive progressive change for all. Ballots will be mailed to you October 9th.
“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority
who participate.” A dubious quote sometimes attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but something to
think about. He did say this, however. “Eternal vigilance is the price of democracy.” I believe
that that means we must be vigilant and not complacent, we need to exercise our rights or they
atrophy. Elections have consequences. Don’t neglect this most important responsibility and
sacred right. Vote.
Beverly Wallace is a retired teacher and native Greeley, Coloradoan. She is a life-long Democrat, part-time writer and political activist.