Official named to monitor primary in Pueblo County

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s secretary of state has appointed a supervisor to monitor Tuesday’s primary elections in a third county after some residents received ballots with wrong state House districts and others received ballots that didn’t include a county commissioner’s race.

The state Republican Party had called for supervision of the Democratic clerk and recorder’s office in Pueblo County after Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, appointed supervisors to oversee elections in two other counties where GOP clerks were accused of tampering with voting equipment.

Griswold said in a Wednesday statement she had appointed Drake Rambke, whom she described as a professional elections administrator, to supervise clerk Gilbert Ortiz’s office after receiving formal complaints of “various allegations of errors and mistakes” committed by his office. Griswold said her office has launched an investigation.

Specifically, Griswold’s office has determined that ballots with an incorrect state House race were sent to one precinct and that a “substantial” number of ballots mailed to Pueblo voters omitted a county commissioner’s race.

Ortiz, a former Pueblo city councilmember, was elected clerk and recorder in 2006 and is in his fourth term. Emails and telephone calls seeking comment from Ortiz and from Griswold’s office weren’t immediately returned.

Earlier this month, Ortiz told KRDO-TV that about 20 voters received primary ballots listing the wrong state House district. Ortiz attributed the error to a flaw in the county’s mapping system. That came after the station reported about 250 voters got ballots missing a commissioner’s race. Ortiz said replacement ballots were sent to affected voters.

Kristi Burton Brown, chair of the state Republican Party, had called for Griswold to act to help correct what she called “the gross mismanagement and incompetence Pueblo County voters have had to endure the past few weeks.” She also urged Ortiz’s replacement before the November general election.

Voters have until 7 p.m. on Tuesday to cast ballots in the Democratic and Republican party primaries. With the primary near, officials have urged voters to drop off their ballots or vote in person rather than mail them.

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