Colorado county to send out mislabeled election ballots
DENVER (AP) — Nearly 110,000 voters in a southern Colorado county will be receiving general election ballots that were mistakenly labeled as primary election ballots, a blunder that has led the state’s secretary of state to appoint a supervisor to oversee November’s vote in a county that also had issues with ballots in its primary election.
The misprint on ballots that are being sent out to voters in Pueblo County was on a tear-off tab and does not effect the “legal validity” or accuracy of the rest of the ballot, Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s office said in a news release Monday. For that reason and because of the short time frame before the ballots were mailed, they will not be reprinted.
It is the second time this year that the county has had problems with ballots.
Griswold, a Democrat running for reelection, previously assigned an election supervisor to the county for the June primaries after Democratic Clerk Gilbert Ortiz’s office mailed some ballots with an incorrect state house race and omitted a county commissioner race from a “substantial” number of ballots sent to Pueblo voters.
The mislabeled general election ballots are going out to all registered voters in the county, said Annie Orloff, a spokesperson for the secretary of state. There are 109,350 active voters in the county as of Oct. 1, the Secretary of State’s Office website shows.
The county is part of the sprawling congressional district where Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert is making a bid to retain her seat against Democratic candidate Adam Frisch. Boebert has questioned the validity of the 2020 presidential election and raised concerns about the integrity of voting systems across the country.
In the same county during the June primary, concerns were raised that a voter had tried to tamper with a voting machine by inserting a USB device. The machine was taken out of use and an investigation was launched.
It is not the first time Griswold has intervened in counties around the state where issues have been raised.
Last year, Griswold appointed an election supervisor in Mesa County after alleging that Republican County Clerk Tina Peters “compromised her county’s voting equipment.” Another supervisor was placed in Elbert County after the clerk violated Colorado election rules during the 2022 primary, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
The same supervisor appointed in Mesa County — Teak Simonton, a former county clerk in Colorado who has served in leadership roles for the Colorado County Clerk’s Association — will oversee Pueblo County this year.
This comes after Griswold’s office earlier this month mistakenly sent postcards to about 30,000 noncitizens encouraging them to register to vote. Officials blamed the error on a database glitch related to the state’s list of residents with driver’s licenses and insisted none of the noncitizens will be allowed to register to vote if they try.
Jesse Bedayn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
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