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Around 17K ballots sent to Aurora voters in Adams County contain error

Posted at 2:03 PM, Oct 16, 2019

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. – More than 17,000 ballots for the upcoming November 2019 election were sent to voters in Aurora that contained an error, the county said Wednesday.

The county said that approximately 17,4000 ballots for the election were sent to Aurora voters living in Adams County that had an error in the voting instructions in the Aurora City Council at-large race.

The error instructed voters to vote for one at-large council member when they are actually supposed to be voting for two – instructions that were correctly defined on ballots sent to Aurora voters in Arapahoe County. One of the candidates posted the error to Facebook on Tuesday.

Adams County spoke with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday and said the office, the county and the city were working to fix the error.

Adams County Clerk and Recorder Josh Zygielbaum took responsibility for the error at a news conference in Brighton on Wednesday afternoon. He said that the original ballot that came to the office from the Aurora city clerk was correct. Somewhere along the way, the Adams County Clerk and Recorder's Office changed the vote from two candidates to one, sent the proof to the Aurora City Clerk's Office, who signed off. They then moved forward with the printing "thinking everything was good to go," Zygielbaum said.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold told reporters Wednesday that the Adams County Clerk and Recorder’s Office would be sending out corrected ballots that would make the state deadline. The new ballots will contain a large stamp that says “corrected” so voters can distinguish between the two.

Zygielbaum said that the original ballots went out last Friday and should have arrived Tuesday or Wednesday at voters' homes. He said that if anyone has already filled out and returned the original ballot, it will be held until 7 p.m. on Election Day to see if the second corrected ballot is returned as well. He said if the second ballot was returned, it is the one that will be counted. If the second ballot is not returned, the first will be counted.

He also advised voters to fill out the entire ballot on the corrected version and not just the at-large council races. He also said that if people select two candidates on the original ballot, that will be counted as well.

Zygielbaum said the corrected ballots will be mailed out Friday to meet the state deadline. He also said that his office was looking at the process and how the error happened in order to "make sure it never happens again."

The reprinting the new ballots would cost between $20,000 and $22,000, which he said could be absorbed into the county's existing budget.

Last year, more than 60,000 ballots were sent late to Adams County voters after one of the delivery trucks failed to deliver the ballots.