Aurora City Clerk: 250 Aurora voters received wrong ballot from Arapahoe County

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This story was updated to reflect that some voters in Ward V were directed to vote for Ward IV candidates.

AURORA | 250 voters in Aurora’s Ward V received wrong ballots from Arapahoe County, according to city of Aurora election staff. 

The 255th voter precinct, located around Cherry Creek State Park, near the intersection of I-225 and Parker Road and then stretches through the park to neighborhoods along Arapahoe Road, is split among two city wards, Ward IV and Ward V. Some voters in that precinct in Ward V received ballots that identify their ward as Ward IV and ask voters to choose between Juan Marcano and incumbent Charlie Richardson

Those voters should be deciding between Alison Coombs and incumbent Bob Roth.

Aurora City Clerk Stephen Ruger said the problem was brought to his attention on Oct. 18 and replacement ballots have been sent out by Arapahoe County along with a letter explaining the problem. 

Marissa Chamberlain, the Arapahoe County deputy clerk of elections, told the Sentinel it was originally estimated 250 wrong ballots were sent, but that about 200 actual voters are impacted.

Votes for Ward IV candidates on the incorrect ballot will not be counted, Ruger said. If only an incorrect ballot is returned, and not a replacement ballot, all other races and questions will be counted.

Ruger said the city and its election commission will begin attempting to contact affected voters in the 255th precinct. He alerted city council members that impacted voters should be receiving a letter from Arapahoe County about the problem.

The Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder’s office did not issue a public alert of the mix-up online, on social media or in a news release to press. A spokesperson from the Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder’s office said the county instead worked directly with the city of Aurora.

Council member Nicole Johnston said during a study session Monday she’s concerned about the process of alerting voters that may have a wrong ballot, particularly given that an issue with ballots in Adams County causing more than 17,000 replacement ballots to be sent to voters was highly publicized.

In that instance, voters were instructed to choose one at-large candidate when they should have chosen two. Ruger said data of returned ballots show Aurora voters in Adams County are mostly returning the replacement ballots. 

Incorrectly-worded ballots in Adams County will still be counted. Those ballots were mailed to voters and met state-sanctioned timelines.