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Secretary of State appoints election supervisor to oversee Pueblo County's election

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Posted at 7:55 PM, Oct 17, 2022

PUEBLO — Today, Secretary of State Jena Griswold appointed an election supervisor in Pueblo County. It's to ensure a fair and secure general election, and to make sure no more errors are made.

Beginning today, Teak Simonton will monitor the actions and decisions made in Pueblo County related to the election. According to a press release from the Secretary of State’s Office, Simonton is a professional election administrator and served as the Clerk and Recorder for Eagle County.

News5 spoke to the candidates running for the Clerk and Recorder’s Office this November about the news.

“We welcome the help from the Secretary of State's office,” said democrat Candace Rivera.

“I think it's good that she's sending somebody down to make sure that the election runs fairly,” said republican Nathan Baxter.

The news comes after the clerk alerted the Secretary of State's Office last Friday, saying there was a misprint on the general election ballots in Pueblo County. The ballots include a tear-off tab at the top of the ballot that says, “Official Primary Election Ballot," even though the rest of the ballot states the ballot is for the general election.

“Someone who's not watching your report may receive a ballot, open it, see where it says primary ballot, assume they've been sent the wrong ballot, and toss it,” said Baxter.

“Unfortunately, this type of thing does shatter the trust in the Clerk and Recorders office, and it can have the potential to do that,” said Rivera.

According to the press release, the decision also comes after multiple mistakes were made by the Democratic Clerk and Recorder, Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz, and his Office during the primary elections. The errors included sending ballots with the incorrect State House race to voters in Pueblo County’s Precinct 209. The release also states the Office committed the County Commissioner District 3 race on a number of ballots mailed to Pueblo voters during the primary election.

Rivera and Baxter both say no matter the party affiliation, voter integrity remains a priority. The two both want to restore Pueblo County’s faith in the voting process in the November election.

“They can have faith and trust in this election process. But that is my main concern that our voters are disturbed by this news,” said Rivera.

“We need to make sure that we're running elections, the right way and we need to make sure we're taking every step that we can to restore people's faith in elections in Pueblo,” said Baxter.

New ballots will not be printed and distributed because of time, and this doesn't impact the legality of the ballot. A supervisor was appointed to oversee the primaries earlier this year, after the several mistakes were made by the Clerk and Recorder's Office, leading to voter confusion and the replacing thousands of ballots.

News5 is helping you prepare for Election 2022 with guides to find out what's on the ballot, what it means to you, and where to deliver your ballot across the region. Click here for our Election Guide.

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