(PUEBLO, Colo.) — Ballots for Pueblo County’s May special districts election were recently sent to ineligible 16- and 17-year-olds, and the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder’s Office said processes have been put in place to keep it from happening again.
In a press release, Pueblo County said the Clerk and Recorder for the county, Candace Rivera, was not certified by the Colorado Secretary of State in time to serve as a Designated Election Official for the May election for the special districts.
To assist with the elections, the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder’s Office provided lists of eligible voters to the Pueblo West Metropolitan District, Colorado City Metropolitan District, and Pueblo Rural Fire District.
Those voter lists, however, contained all voters registered in their respective districts and therefore included 16- and 17-year-olds who are not eligible to vote.
The county explained that this occurred because anyone who obtains a driver’s license in the State of Colorado is automatically registered to vote, which includes pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, even though those voters are not eligible to vote until they turn 18.
As a result, ballots for the May 2 special district elections were mailed to voters including ineligible teens from the lists.
According to the county, the Clerk and Recorder’s Office was only obligated to supply the lists.
“Checking over these voter lists for ineligible voters is the responsibility of the Designated Election Official: Denise O’Hara for Pueblo West Metropolitan District and Sue Blair for Colorado City Metropolitan District and Pueblo Rural Fire District,” the county said.
The county said the Clerk’s Office provided the districts with an updated list of eligible voters as soon as the error was caught, and said “processes have been put in place to ensure this situation does not happen again.”