Ballots for the June 26 primary election are now being collected in El Paso County, but the Clerk & Recorder’s office is expecting several of the ballots to cause problems. Historically, about five percent of all ballots cast need special handling and interpretation before they can be counted.
The ballots were mailed Monday to all affiliated voters whose parties are conducting a Primary Election. This included voters whose status is active and inactive.
Unaffiliated voters who wish to receive a ballot by mail must declare a party by June 19.
According to the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder’s office, the problem ballots are often related to voters using incompatible pen colors or failing to completely fill in the bubble.
The equipment that reads ballots cannot read votes cast using a red pen, highlighter or pencil. Permanent markers can also bleed through the paper and cause the machine to reject the ballots. The system is also unable to interpret lines or checkmarks used instead of completely filling the ovals.
Other common mistakes include spills, rips and mistakes on the ballot.
When errors occur, the ballot is taken to a board consisting of one Republican and one Democratic election judge. Their job is to interpret the ballot and duplicate it onto a clean copy that can be read by the election equipment.
To help clarify these instructions, the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder’s office created this YouTube video:
After your ballot is complete, here are instructions for dropping it off to each of the seven locations: