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Outside manager appointed to oversee Pueblo primary after ballot problems

Some voters received ballots missing a commissioners race
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold speaks during a news conference Aug. 12 about an election breach investigation in Denver. (RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via AP, file)

The Colorado Secretary of State has appointed an outside manager to oversee the primary election in Pueblo County.

In a news release announcing the move, the Secretary’s office said it began investigating after receiving numerous complaints about election irregularities.

While the investigation is ongoing, it has already concluded that a “substantial” number of ballots sent by the county were missing a commissioners race, while ballots for one precinct had the wrong state House race on them. It’s unclear which party’s ballots were misprinted.

Secretary Jena Griswold appointed Drake Rambke, who her office describes as a professional election administrator, to oversee the Pueblo’s election, with the power to “direct the activities of the election staff” through the course of the primary.

Colorado’s Republican Party has been calling on Griswold to take the action, pointing out that she already appointed outside managers in Mesa and Elbert Counties, where Republican clerks are accused of potential security breaches.

Pueblo’s clerk, Democrat Gilbert Ortiz, is the current head of the Colorado County Clerks Association. He is up for reelection this year and is in a primary against Candace Rivera, a paralegal and victim advocate.

To read more stories from Colorado Public Radio, visit www.cpr.org.