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Around 250 Pueblo County primary ballots sent out without the names of all candidates

PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert "Bo," Ortiz says an "error" has been made to hundreds of Colorado State Primary ballots.

"As the election was being set up in the system, the county commissioner race was not included on every ballot, only on those that belonged to voters in Commissioner District 3," Ortiz said. "This was a mistake, as every voter in Pueblo County is eligible to vote for the county commissioner race."

Mike Schuster, a Democratic nominee for District threes County Commissioner race, tells 13 Investigates that his wife tried to vote for him in person. That's when she realized her husband's name was not on her ballot.

"She got a ballot and when she was voting, she noticed that for the county commissioners race my name was not on there." Schuster said. "People need to have trust in the election and when things pop up like this, it does not help."

According to Ortiz, around 250 voters were sent the incorrect ballot. That includes UOCAVA voters, uniformed military, and overseas voters. These voters were issued replacement ballots with instructions on how to vote using the replacement ballot.

However, Schuster says his wife has been never been a military member or oversees voter.

"My wife is not an oversees voter. I took her down there myself, so I think we ought to just check the whole thing and make sure everything is okay so that everyone has confidence is what is going to happen," Schuster said.

Schuster says he is happy his wife caught the mistake to help ensure that every voted ballot with his name on it is counted.

"People may not have questioned it at all if they went and got a ballot. They would say I don't live in this district or whatever and they wouldn't have had the opportunity to vote," Schuster said. "It is important because I was lucky enough to come across this."

Ortiz tells 13 Investigates his office can print new ballots on-site using a "ballot on-demand machine." For all mail-in ballots, they are printed through Pueblo County's printing vendor.

The Pueblo County Clerk says the issue is now being rectified, and the "original ballot has been voided in our system."

13 Investigates reached out the Colorado Secretary of State's Office for comment regarding the ballot mishap. A spokesperson said:

"Recently the Pueblo County Clerk notified the Department of State that roughly 250 pueblo county UOCAVA voters were sent a ballot with incorrect information pertaining to a local county commissioner race. These voters have since been notified and provided a way to vote a correct ballot. The Department of State will continue to monitor the situation and provide the support and oversight needed to ensure Pueblo delivers a great Primary election for their voters."

The deadline for ballots to be mailed to voters for the June 28 Colorado State Primary Election is June 10. According to Ortiz, the corrected ballots will be mailed to Pueblo County voters by that deadline.

Anyone with questions or to check your ballot status is asked to call 719-583-6620.

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.

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