Colorado Secretary of State appoints election supervisor in Pueblo County following more complaints

By: - June 23, 2022 8:31 am

The Pueblo County Courthouse at 215 W 10th St., pictured on April 14, 2022. (Sara Wilson/Colorado Newsline)

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold on Wednesday appointed an election supervisor in Pueblo County to oversee the primary election process, following several mistakes from the county clerk’s office that led to the delivery of incorrect ballots and allegations of further errors.

This comes after a Tuesday appointment of an election observer in the county.

Griswold’s office has so far received seven formal election complaints about mistakes in the office, led by Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz. Both Griswold and Ortiz are Democrats facing reelection this year.

“The Department has commenced an investigation of these allegations, and while that investigation is continuing, the Department has found that certain errors occurred and necessitate immediate action at this time,” Griswold’s order reads.

Elections professional Drake Rambke, who was at first assigned to be the election observer in Pueblo, will now fill the election supervisor role. He is authorized to inspect, direct and instruct the elections staff in the clerk’s office in order to correct the existing mistakes and any that could come up in the investigation. He is also able to take remedial action to address any “deficiencies in election administration that may be identified” by him or the secretary of state’s office, with Griswold’s approval.

Griswold’s office found that voters in Pueblo County’s Precinct 209 received the incorrect state House race on their ballots, which affects more voters than the 15 or so previously known.

The office also previously worked with Ortiz to correct an error that omitted a county commissioner race from about 1,600 mailed ballots.

“The Department has and continues to work closely with the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder’s Office to address these issues. However, given the pattern of errors and omissions by the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, and to ensure fair and accessible elections for the voters of Pueblo County, the Secretary of State has determined that an election supervisor must be appointed for Pueblo County, to be responsible for the administration of Pueblo County’s primary election,” the election order reads.

Pueblo County will be responsible for the cost of Rambke’s work.

Griswold’s office also appointed an election supervisor in Elbert County to monitor the actions and decisions of Clerk Dallas Schroeder. Schroeder was involved in a 2021 election security protocol breach when he made copies of the election system hard drives and gave them to two unauthorized people.

Colorado’s primary election is on June 28.

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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado. Wilson earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and as a student she reported on Congress and other federal beats in Washington, D.C.