Jena Griswold appoints a supervisor to oversee Pueblo County’s November elections, citing multiple mistakes made by clerk and recorder Bo Ortiz

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Secretary of State incumbent Jena Griswold debates her opponent, Pam Anderson, at the University of Denver. Oct. 11, 2022.

Colorado’s Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold has appointed a supervisor in Pueblo County to oversee the upcoming election. Her office cites mistakes made by the clerk, Democrat Bo Ortiz, that led to voter confusion. 

Teak Simonton, the Eagle County treasurer and former Democratic Eagle County clerk will oversee Pueblo’s election.

Griswold’s office says that during the state’s primary election in June Ortiz's office sent ballots with the incorrect state House race to some voters and failed to include the County Commissioner District 3 race on a substantial number of primary ballots. More recently, her office said, there was a misprint on the Pueblo County general election ballot.

“The ballots include a tear-off tab at the top of the ballot that says ‘Official Primary Election Ballot,’ even though the rest of the ballot makes clear that it is actually the ballot for the General Election,” said a statement from Griswold’s office. 

“Because the misprint on the tear-off tab does not affect the legal validity of the ballot; is not legally required; and the infeasibility of printing new ballots in time, Pueblo voters will receive these ballots.”

Ortiz is currently the president of the Colorado County Clerks Association. He declined to comment on the situation at this time, but he said he plans to do so at a later date.

This is the second county in which Griswold has appointed an outside supervisor. Griswold asked a court to remove Republican Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters from overseeing the local 2021 election after allegations first surfaced that Peters mishandled voting equipment.

A Colorado judge also barred Peters from overseeing this year’s 2022 election due to her role in the security breach of Mesa County’s election equipment and subsequent indictment for election tampering and misconduct.

Peters pleaded not guilty and a trial is set for March 2023.

The state also put a monitor in place in Elbert County for the primary election to observe the county’s election results to ensure a “secure, accurate, and timely conduct.”

Colorado is in the middle of an ongoing investigation into Elbert County’s Republican clerk Dallas Schroeder, who has acknowledged he made a copy of his county’s voting machine server — similar to the alleged actions taken by Peters.

Schroeder told state investigators that he made hard drive copies with two county employees present and two outside people guiding them by phone. He also shared duplicate copies with two attorneys.  

A false election conspiracy circulated by supporters of former president Trump claims that Dominion Voting Systems used their machines to subvert the 2020 election, and then hid the evidence during the routine software update.

Griswold’s decision for the supervisor in Pueblo comes after her own office mistakenly mailed voter registration notices to roughly 30,000 Colorado residents, who are not U.S citizens, to tell them on how they could register to vote. The office said a data formatting issue led to the error and has subsequently sent a follow up postcard to those residents. Griswold’s office said the state’s online voter registration system would block any non-citizen who tries to register to vote.