Meeker ballots will be hand counted

MEEKER I Rio Blanco County Clerk and Recorder Nancy Amick discovered a printing error in the Meeker School District RE-1 ballots but the ballots will still be counted.
Amick discovered 1,231 of the 1,831 RE-1 ballots printed and mailed Tuesday, Oct. 11, were inadvertently printed with “Sample Ballot” on the side of the ballot. The error occurred after 600 ballots were properly printed and the error only applies to the Meeker School District RE-1 ballots. Ballots for the Rangely School District RE-4, the South Routt School District RE-3 and the Rangely Junior College District were properly printed and are not affected.
The ballots marked “Sample Ballot” are valid and voters may use them to cast their votes, which will be hand-counted.
Amick said the Secretary of State’s office was immediately contacted and the decision was made to hand-count the RE-1 ballots. Her office was working with the secretary of state to develop procedures to preserve both the anonymity of the ballots and the integrity of the election.
“Voters can be assured if they have already voted and returned their ballot, it will be counted,” Amick said. “If the voter is uncomfortable voting the ‘Sample Ballot,’ they may apply for a replacement ballot at the RBC Clerk and Recorder’s office at P.O. Box 1067 or at 555 Main St., or they may request a replacement ballot from the clerk’s page on the county’s website at  www.co.rio-blanco.co.us.
“Our top priority will be maintaining the security and integrity of the election and to be open with the voters in explaining the steps my staff and election teams will be taking to mitigate the problem,” Amick said.
Amick said her office received a statement of withdrawal from Todd Morris, candidate for the RE-1 School District, after the ballots were printed.
According to statute, votes cast for Morris will not be counted, Amick said.
Voters with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the clerk and recorder’s office at 970-878-9460.