PUEBLO COUNTY — With just a few days until the primary election, the secretary of state has appointed an Election Supervisor for Pueblo County.
The decision comes just one day after Secretary of State Jena Griswold ordered an Election Observer to the county. The department chose to appoint a supervisor after seven formal complaints alleging errors and mistakes made by the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder's Office. All but one of the complaints were submitted by active candidates on the Pueblo County ballot — most of them Republicans.
The complaints are still under investigation, but Griswold says they found that certain errors occurred and necessitate immediate action at this time. Voters in Pueblo County’s Precinct 209 received the incorrect state House race on their ballots. Before that, a county commissioner race was omitted from about 1,600 mailed ballots.
"A supporter of mine had reached out to me. He knew that he was in District 46, but received a ballot with District 62 on it," said Jason Munoz, House District 46 Candidate.
It was concerning for the candidate, but he says the Pueblo Clerk and Recorder handled the issue quickly. Munoz and his opponent Tisha Mauro tell News 5 they are glad to see the secretary of state appoint an supervisor.
"I think the secretary of state did the right thing in appointing a supervisor for an extra layer of oversight," said Munoz.
"I believe it is good the Secretary of State sent down an election supervisor. It is extremely important that every vote counts, and all voters have confidence in the election process. I believe the supervisor will help ensure that," said Mauro.
"The decision to appoint an observer or supervisor depends on various factors. Is the mistake intentional, is it just one mistake, is it an intentional security breach, do we feel like there is a pattern which rises to a need for a direct intervention," said Griswold.
The observer had the authority to observe and monitor. As a supervisor, he is authorized to inspect, direct and instruct the elections staff in the clerk’s office in order to correct the existing mistakes and any that could come up in the investigation.
"Pueblo County has been working with us. They are focused on fixing the problems created, and that is also a factor. From the very beginning, Pueblo County has been forthcoming and has been working with the supervisor," said Griswold.
Pueblo Voters now have two options when it comes to ballot errors and mistakes.
"They can either get a replacement ballot or vote on the incorrect ballot, and any votes for that incorrect house race on that ballot just won't be counted," said Griswold.
She says there is a process in place to prevent ballots from being counted twice — even if you've already turned in one.
"When someone votes, they're pinged into the statewide voter registration system. If a ballot is received prior to discussing the issue with the ballot, the voter can't vote further — they can only vote once. For the ballots that are being affected, they are being segregated a part so they are not going to be entered in the statewide voter registration database. If a subsequent ballot is turned in then that subsequent ballot will be counted," said Griswold.
The supervisor will remain in Pueblo County for the remainder of the election primary. This is the third time in which the department has appointed a supervisor to oversee the primary election. Earlier this month — supervisors were appointed in Elbert and Mesa counties for alleged security breaches.