Election supervisors overseeing primaries in some Colorado counties

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Posted at 3:47 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 19:41:47-04

DENVER – With Colorado’s primary elections on Tuesday, we’re hitting our first round of political advertising for the year. But one of the spots you’ll see on TV and online this year is a little different; it’s not for a candidate, but a cause.

The commercial from Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold and former Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams aims to reassure voters they can trust Colorado’s elections despite rampant misinformation in some edges of the political sphere.

It comes at a time a few counties across the state are having ballot issues.

In Denver, Clerk and Recorder Paul Lopez and his staff found 60 ballots out of 515,000 that had been printed with the wrong state House district race – wrongly featuring House District 3 instead of House District 8.

How did it happen? The redistricting process, Lopez said. His office was alerted to the mistake by a voter.

“When that redistricting happens, we literally, physically – a human being has to go in and identify all those registered voters throughout the city,” Lopez said.

The data for three blocks on Marion Street was entered incorrectly.

“It is a data mistake,” Lopez said. “It is a human error, but it is not fraud.”

Williams says the delay in the U.S. Census data last year is to blame.

“They were more rushed, and when you were rushed, there are errors that are sometimes made,” Williams said.

The races at hand with those 60 ballots are uncontested races as well. Denver hand-delivered new ballots to the voters

It’s a far different situation than what happened in Pueblo, where Griswold’s office appointed an election supervisor for the primary after seven formal complaints were filed regarding mistakes on more than 1,600 voters.

One House race on the ballot was wrong and a county commissioner race was omitted entirely, so Griswold assigned the new election supervisor, Drake Rambke.

“How it works, in practice, is that that supervisor works closely with the county clerk and with their staff to make sure the election takes place,” Williams said.

Elbert County will also have an election supervisoroverseeing the primaries there as an investigation into Clerk and Recorder Dallas Schroeder and a potential election security breach continues. But both he and Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz will be involved.

Meanwhile, in Mesa County, Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters will not be allowed to oversee the election because of the security breach that resulted in felony indictments against her. Williams will be among those helping in Mesa County.

“You’ve got a judicial finding that the clerk of Mesa County had broken the law and had lied,” Williams said. “When you’ve got that type of situation, then it’s a wholesale replacement of the designated election official.”

But he says all of the actions by the Secretary of State’s Office should prove to voters that Colorado’s elections are safe and secure and that the stake is taking this primary and any potential mistakes seriously.