Denver mailed the wrong ballots to 60 voters. This is how the Clerk and Recorder is fixing it.

Vote early…but just once!
3 min. read
First-time voter MaLinda Medina fills out her ballot outside of her home in Five Points, June 4, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Colorado's mail-in voting system has been heralded as an example for the rest of the country for why mail-in voting is safe. And generally, it is. But nothing's perfect, and mistakes happen.

Like the time Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters found over 500 uncounted ballots from the 2019 election during the 2020 presidential primary election (they didn't end up swaying the bygone election's results). Or more recently, when Pueblo County was forced to reprint roughly 70,000 Democratic primary ballots that had failed to include a county commissioner race. Even after the reprint, 1,600 incorrect ballots were sent out, prompting the Secretary of State to send an independent election observer to the county, as Colorado Newsline reported.

In Denver, a smaller mistake was made in the primary election.

On Tuesday, Denver's Clerk and Recorder Paul López's office discovered 60 voters received ballots for precinct 310 instead of 832, where they lived, according to spokesperson Alton Dillard.

"Our team immediately began troubleshooting the issue and were quickly able to determine it was caused by a minor data entry error," he wrote in a statement. "The good thing is that we still have a week until election day and our team will contact the affected voters and hand deliver the correct ballots."

Five of the 60 people with incorrect ballots had already voted, and their ballots had been separated from the envelopes. Unfortunately, there's no way to track who voted how. Once a ballot is removed from the envelope the voter cannot be identified to protect anonymity.

Anyone ready to scream election fraud should hold their horses. There was one difference between the two precinct ballots: State Representative District. In District 3, Meg Froelich was running. In District 8, Leslie Herod was running. In both cases, the position was uncontested, so the mistake is inconsequential to the results.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Clerk and Recorder's office encouraged people to vote early to prevent delays in counting that make people question elections.

Questioning election results has become something of a trend after more than a year of former President Donald Trump lying that he was the legitimate winner of the 2020 election and a victim of fraud.

That fib has caused a headache for voting officials nationwide, and errors like the one made in Denver don't help -- even if they don't skew results.

Ballots were mailed in early June, and they must be turned in by 7 p.m. on June 28. Voters who see anything wacky should report the issues to the Clerk and Recorder's office by calling 311 and picking option 8.

Correction: The Clerk and Recorder's office clarified that not all of the ballots that were sent to the wrong precinct were Democratic. 

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