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Large portion of ballots in Bent County missing, replacements ordered

Posted at 12:16 PM, Oct 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 09:50:31-04
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BENT COUNTY – The Bent County Clerk and Recorder’s Office will re-issue about 500 ballots to voters in the county because they haven’t been delivered.

Bent County Clerk and Recorder Patti Nickell said the U.S. Postal Service hasn’t been able to locate the missing ballots. Nickell said the new ballots should arrive on Friday.

The post offices on Wiley, McClave and Hasty in eastern Bent County did not receive ballots to be distributed in their area, Nickell said they were lost in the process of being sent to a postal center in Colorado Springs and redistributed from there.

A total of about 2,500 ballots were supposed to be sent out to registered voters in the county. Roughly 2,000 of those ballots were delivered without any problems.

RELATED: Bent County November General Election information

Nickell said the county will open an additional ballot drop box in McClave at the McClave State Bank starting Oct. 31 through election day to ensure people in that area won’t have to drive to Las Animas to turn in their ballots.

The drop box in McClave will be open during the bank’s business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Two staff members from the clerk and recorder’s office will also be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 3 at the Road and Bridge store in McClave to answer questions and handle issues as well.

“We’re doing everything we can to accommodate those voters,” Nickell said.

She also said that if voters receive both ballots for some reason, there is no reason to worry that both ballots would be counted. She said her system only allows one ballot per voter and if there is a second ballot submitted by the same voter, the extra ballot would be thrown out.

Bent County wasn’t the only Colorado county this election season that experienced issues with its ballots being lost in the mail.  One-fourth of the ballots in Adams County also were held up, but they were located and have been delivered.

“Our office has visited the Post Office facility in Denver, and talked to clerks in these two counties as well as other clerks,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams said in a news release. “Voting is a sacred right and we want everyone’s voice to be heard.”

Nickell said her office in Las Animas will have ballot drop boxes available 24 hours a day so voters can turn in their ballots before the 7 p.m. deadline on Nov. 6.