In Saguache On Election Day, Mail-In Ballots Were Sitting In A Crime Scene

Sagauche County had an unusual problem with its election on Tuesday. The Post Office in the town of Saguache was burglarized Monday night, turning it into a crime scene and making it difficult to retrieve mail-in ballots.

The county's clerk and recorder, Carla Gomez says there were only six ballots at the Post Office that day. She says most of the county's voters drop their ballots off in-person.

“We were obviously concerned because we wanted to pick up any ballots that we needed to collect to get through the day and there was no mail available because the post office was closed,” Gomez said. “So what I did then was just notify the Secretary of State’s office immediately.”

Dwight Shellman, the Secretary of State’s county support manager, said Colorado law requires all ballots to be in by 7 p.m. on Election Day — a deadline they were concerned Sagauche might miss.

“We wouldn’t want to punish the voters for this burglary at a Post Office,” Shellman said.

While Gomez attempted to retrieve the ballots from law enforcement, Shellman kept Secretary of State Wayne Williams in the loop. He said Williams was prepared to grant the county an extension on the deadline if necessary.

But it never came to that. Even with the Post Office shut down all day, Gomez was able to get all ballots in on time and proceed with the election free of disruption.

“The great Sagauche County Post Office burglary of 2017,” Shellman joked. “It’s the first time, to my knowledge, this has ever happened in the state.”