Human error in county clerk’s office delays election ballots for North Routt’s Precinct 1
Steamboat Springs — Workers at the Routt County Clerk’s Office were waiting for the express truck to deliver replacement ballots from a printer in Denver on Tuesday after a clerical error resulted in a failure to send 723 election ballots to voters in Routt County Precinct 1, comprising North Routt, on Oct. 16 as scheduled.
County Clerk Kim Bonner said she reported the error to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office and confirmed the local election — which includes school board and city council races and a school bond vote in the Steamboat Springs School District — is in no way compromised or jeopardized.
The error was discovered when a number of calls began coming into the clerk’s office asking about the status of ballots.
“We had people calling up saying ‘We haven’t gotten our ballot,’ and all of them were for Precinct 1,” Bonner said. “We talked to the local post office, and our printer talked to the Denver post office. This morning, our printer went to the post office in Denver, and after a number of double checks, we could see (the ballot for Precinct 1) wasn’t uploaded correctly.”
Bonner said during the process of extracting voter names and addresses from her office’s computer database to send them by precinct to the printer for the appropriate ballot language, one of her employees mislabeled the Precinct 1 voter list as “overseas.”
“Precinct 1 was not included in the upload on our file transfer protocol site for our printer,” Bonner said. “It was a human error.”
There are only 63 voters on the overseas ballot list, and they will ultimately receive mail ballots, but those who are planning to vote will do so via a special email ballot, Bonner said. If they receive the paper mail ballots, they will have already voted.
The reprinted ballots were printed in Denver on Wednesday and shipped overnight to Steamboat Springs.
Steamboat Springs Postmaster Debbie Staffieri confirmed Wednesday that her staff will make certain that, once received, the ballots go directly to the post office in Clark.
“If they’re late for our regular driver, I’ll take them up there myself,” Staffieri said. “Those ballots have to get there.”
Bonner said voters in Precinct 1 should have ample time, at least 12 days, to return their delayed ballots by mail. However, they have another option, which is to deposit them in a pick-up box previously placed by Bonner’s office in the same building as the Clark Post Office at the Clark Store.
The pick-up box is one of four in the county, including others in Hayden, Yampa and Oak Creek.
“We pick it up every three days with two election judges, one representing each of the (major) parties,” Bonner said. “We’ll call (the Clark Store) on Friday to see if they’ve had an influx of ballots, and if they have,” she will arrange a special pick-up trip.
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