Mail-in ballot problems in Adams County

It's getting close.

Denver election officials know all to well about the difficulties that some people had with mail-in ballots this year after the city’s hired printing company, Sequoia Voting Systems, failed to process more than 18,000 of them until early this week.

But Adams County has had problems of a slightly different kind, says county clerk and recorder Karen Long. Since the beginning of October alone, her office has received 45,000-50,000 requests for mail-in ballots, and 115,000 requests all together -- more than twice as many as the previous record of 52,000 mail-in ballots in 2006, she says.

“In three days alone, we got over 11,000 pieces of mail,” Long explains. The result was that many mail-in ballots were delayed or, in at least one case, never showed up at all.

"Our situation is similar to Denver’s in that they got hammered with these things at the last minute. My staff has been working 12-16 hours a day, seven days a week. We’ve done everything we could physically do to get the ballots out,” she says, adding that there were 150 people working on Columbus Day to get them entered.

Adams County also hired Sequoia, but the printing was actually done by a subcontractor in Denver who processed two mailings of 18,000 ballots each and one of 63,000 ballots in the past two weeks. "But it wasn’t the printer’s fault," Long adds.

Voters who got nervous were provided with replacement ballots if they came into one the county’s voting offices. Voters who got their ballots late were asked to drop them off in person. If all else fails, she says, those voters will have to make do with provisional ballots. – Jonathan Shikes

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes