Grand Junction Has Found Ballots From 2019 It Didn’t Know Were Missing

February 20, 2020
A ballot flies through a verifier machine at a Jefferson County elections facilty in Golden, July 1, 2019. A ballot flies through a verifier machine at a Jefferson County elections facilty in Golden, July 1, 2019. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A 2019 ballot gets processed by a verifier machine in Colorado.

Election officials in Grand Junction got what they expected earlier this week after emptying an official drop box: Ballots. But they also got something they didn't expect: More ballots. From last year.

Colorado sent out presidential primary ballots last week ahead of Super Tuesday on March 3. And the first retrieval from a drop box outside Mesa County's election office has left people there puzzled. That's because the batch included about 500 uncounted ballots from the last election.

Those ballots were dropped off before polls closed on November 5, according to Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

"We are continuing to look into this matter to determine how this error occurred," she said in a statement. "The procedures followed by the elections staff are continuing to be reviewed and modified to ensure that this mistake will never happen again."

Peters said that after an initial investigation, she does not believe the ballots would have changed any election results had they been counted.

"I apologize for this error and will always face challenges head-on with transparency and integrity in order to always keep your trust," Peters said.

CPR's Stina Sieg contributed to this report.

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